An Imaginary Life

Front Cover
Vintage, 1999 - Australian fiction - 154 pages
4 Reviews

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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User Review  - janerawoof - LibraryThing

Enjoyed it for what it was, but disappointed that it was not so much a straight story about Ovid-in-exile [although that was there] as much as a meditation on the balance between civilization and ... Read full review

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User Review  - LukeS - LibraryThing

David Malouf creates the life of Ovid in his exile by the Black Sea. This is the story of a lost spirit - Ovid no longer has Roman society to entertain and embarrass. His spirit flies from him when he ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

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.

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