In a richly imagined, beautiful new novel, an acclaimed writer gives an epic heroine her voice
In The Aeneid, Vergil’s hero fights to claim the king’s daughter, Lavinia, with whom he is destined to found an empire. Lavinia herself never speaks a word. Now, Ursula K. Le Guin gives Lavinia a voice in a novel that takes us to the half-wild world of ancient Italy, when Rome was a muddy village near seven hills.
Lavinia grows up knowing nothing but peace and freedom, until suitors come. Her mother wants her to marry handsome, ambitious Turnus. But omens and prophecies spoken by the sacred springs say she must marry a foreignerthat she will be the cause of a bitter warand that her husband will not live long. When a fleet of Trojan ships sails up the Tiber, Lavinia decides to take her destiny into her own hands. And so she tells us what Vergil did not: the story of her life, and of the love of her life.
Lavinia is a book of passion and war, generous and austerely beautiful, from a writer working at the height of her powers.
Ursula K. Le Guin channeling Frank Miller? The poet of the bucolic utopia portrayed in Always Coming Home echoing the macho war cries of 300? The sensitive chronicler of the hermaphroditic culture of The Left Hand of Darkness engaging in the rough-and-tumble brawling characteristic of Sin City? Well, yes and no, but perhaps more yes than no.