By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of Lavinia

Book description

An exceptional combination of history and mythology - 'an intriguing, luxuriously realised novel' FINANCIAL TIMES

'Subtly moving, playful...a novel that brought me to tears more than once. Lavinia is a delightful heroine' GUARDIAN

'Like Spartan Helen, I caused a war. She caused hers by letting men who wanted her take…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Lavinia as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Romance isn't the only genre I read, of course. Lavinia is written by one of my favorite authors, Ursula K LeGuin. This historical fiction novel takes a character from the ancient Aeneid and brings her to life.

In the Aeneid, Lavinia is the prize for Aeneas. But, she never speaks. Not even one word. LeGuin decided to fix that. She gives Lavinia her own story and journey. In doing so, she creates a rich protagonist who takes destiny into her own hands. 

LeGuin traditionally writes science fiction. I love how this female writer in a male-dominated genre broke out…

From Skye's list on making you laugh, cry, and swoon.

In Vergil's Aeneid, Lavinia is a princess destined to marry the hero Aeneas and bear him a son who will be the ancestor of Julius Caesar. Le Guin makes Lavinia the center of her story. Her Lavinia is not a passive prize for the Trojan warrior, but a young woman attempting to find her way in a society that does not offer even princesses many opportunities for choice. 

But what’s really meaningful to me is the way Le Guin enters the world of another writer's story and creates her own based on it, remaining faithful to the original but…

Lavinia’s marriage is at the centre of the conflict in the second half of Virgil’s Aeneid – will she marry Turnus, her betrothed, or will she marry Aeneas, the newly-arrived Trojan upstart? Yet famously all we really find out about Lavinia and how she feels about this situation is her blush before the final battle begins; she never actually speaks. Le Guin remedies this silence by telling the story of the Trojans’ arrival from Lavinia’s perspective, visited by a ghostly Virgil in visions, and giving a different perspective to stories of war and conflict.

From Liz's list on ancient Greece and Rome.

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