Lavinia has ratings and reviews. Lyn said: Is it possible that Ursula K. LeGuin can write a bad book?I guess anything is possible: I could. 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. Lavinia [Ursula K. Le Guin] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers .

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This is a book that is as perfect as an autumn day, or a truly great wine. Of course, it is possible to break down both of these things into their component parts.

What is good about an autumn day? The warm feel of the sun through cold air, the clarity of light, the smell of wood smoke, clouds of breath, the crackle of leaves and frost. What is good about a glass of wine? Its blend of flavours, the process of its making, the time in which and the company with whom it is drunk.

But this mere listing of attributes does nothing to capture the essence of the experience, even for oneself, let along to convey the fullness of sensation to another. It takes a poet to do that.

Le Guin, like Virgil, is up to the task. This is no simple entertainment, one among many such similar entertainments.


This is life itself, coaxed onto the page. He marries Lavinia, daughter of the King Latinus, and his heirs go on to found Rome. Lavinia is barely described in the poem.

She is incidental to the grand plot of wars, gods, heroes and destinies. Le Guin flips this on its head guij Lavinia becomes the focus, the narrator. The war between Trojans and Latins is the backdrop, the focus becomes life, life that goes on no matter what though Le Guin envisages an ultimate end ursulx war.

Le Guin is overwhelmingly, frighteningly wise. Core to her penetrating appreciation of life is her deep understanding of what divides, and unites, the genders. She is a feminist, but hers is an inclusive feminism. She shames us with wisdom and glorifies us with love, we men. Her Aeneas is a hero.

He is a killer. yuin

The princess with flaming hair

He is lauded for being the former, and tortured by guilt for being the latter. He is loved by Lavinia anyway. Le Guin understands people like few ursuls. We will always need heroes, and we will always have killers. Often, they are the same. She laments war, but unlike some she does not condemn men for it, and nor does she absolve women of guilt for it.

Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin

Lavinia carries an air of pensive sorrow for a life run out, while encouraging celebration and an acceptance of those parts that do not bear celebration.


In any case, the days roll on, spring turns to summer turns to autumn turns to winter turns to spring again. The people are remembered, in some way or another, by those that follow, by history, by the landscape. Both of them creations of Le Guin. After we have gone, all that is left of an individual is a story — maybe that is enough.

Review: Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin | Books | The Guardian

Only life itself is eternal. Unlike Aeneas or Dido or Virgil, Lavinia does not enter the afterlife; her existence fades into that of an owl.

But it could also be Le Guin, calling out for remembrance. It is not a book about great deeds, or turning points or moments; it is about the persistence of life, the passage of time, the sowing of crops, the sorrow of mothers for sons killed, of disagreements and reconciliations. It is a book of bittersweet sorrows, of shared joys. It is an autumn day, it is a fine glass of wine. Reprinted with the kind permission of the author and of Death Ray magazine.

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