In the first century AD, Publius Ovidius Naso, the most urbane and irreverant poet of imperial Rome, was banished to a remote village on the edge of the Black Sea. Marooned on the edge of the known world, exiled from his native tongue, Ovid depends on the kindness of barbarians who impate their dead and converse with the spirit world.
In the first century AD, Publius Ovidius Naso, the most urbane and irreverant poet of imperial Rome, was banished to a remote village on the edge of the Black Sea. From these sparse facts, one of our most distinguished novelists has fashioned an audacious and supremely moving work of fiction. Marooned on the edge of the known world, exiled from his native tongue, Ovid depends on the kindness of barbarians who impate their dead and converse with the spirit world. But then he becomes the guardian of a still more savage creature, a feral child who has grown up among deer. What ensues is a luminous encounter between civilization and nature, as enacted by a poet who once catalogued the treacheries of love and a boy who slowly learns how to give it.
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"A work of unusual intelligence and imagination...[a sort of] fantasia on what Ovid's life in exile might have been and, as time went by, became, as the quintessentially civilized man of letters was forced to come to terms with a harsh, pre-rational, thoroughly alien world" -- Katha Pollitt * New York Times * "Elegant and resonant narrative...an exhilarating use of language" * Sunday Telegraph * "Haunting" * Sunday Telegraph * "David Malouf, a spare and delicate writer, presents here the first-person story of the Roman poet Ovid's exile in the distant, frosty wastes...hypnotic in its gripping accumulation of detail, its gradual unwrapping of human reality amid what at first seems a barbarian and unknowable environment. At the centre of this meticulously well-told tale is Ovid's encounter with a wild boy, brought up among the deer in the snow" * Sunday Times *
About David Malouf
David Malouf is the internationally acclaimed author of novels including The Great World (winner of the Commonwealth Writers' prize and the Prix Femina Etranger), Remembering Babylon (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), An Imaginary Life, Conversations at Curlow Creek, His most recent, Ransom, published in 2010, and his autobiographical classic 12 Edmondstone Street. His Collected Stories won the 2008 Australia-Asia Literary Award, and his recent story collections are Dream Stuff ('These stories are pearls' Spectator) and Every Move You Make ('Rare and luminous talent' Guardian). In 2008 Malouf was the Scottish Arts' Council Muriel Spark International Fellow. Born in 1934 in Brisbane, where he was brought up, he lives in Sydney.
An Imaginary Life by David Malouf
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