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Publisher's Summary

Highly acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin lends a resonant voice to a pivotal yet often overlooked character of Virgil's The Aeneid. Born into peace and freedom, Lavinia is stunned to learn that she will be the cause of a great war - or so the prophecies and omens claim. Her fate is sealed, however, when she meets a man from Troy.
©2008 Ursula K. Le Guin (P)2008 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"... masterful" ( Publishers Weekly, starred review)

What listeners say about Lavinia

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

totally gripping!

I loved this recording of Ursula Le Guin's beautiful novel so much that I listened to it all over again as soon as I'd heard it through the first time. The language is sparse and clear, and the narrator's voice is perfectly suited to it. Le Guin's exploration of what piety means in action is fascinating, and her exploration of gender roles is a nuanced as ever. Hoorah!

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinatingly well written

I found this book to be wonderful in three ways. While the story is well trodden territory, the author continuously weaves it with fascinating and well thought out insights and commentary from the narrator. The narrator herself is a wonderful contraption, occupying a unique space between first-person and third-person. Finally, the writing itself is a joy to listen to. The author has clearly put thought into simplicity and elegance of phrasing.

The only down-side I found in this book is that the last half of the book is not as strong as the first. However, the book only slacks off from "excellent" to "very good."

The reader does the book justice. She speaks clearly, at a good pace, and with an appropriate amount of intonation and acting.

23 people found this helpful

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An unsung character with an interesting story

Let me begin by saying that LeGuin is at her best when she is creating a new culture by looking at it anthropologically. For example, she shines in her Earthsea novels and the science fiction novels like THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS. In this novel, she has a society that she understands fully -- but it is already historically realized. I felt her creativity was limited with what I think she does best -- her expertise on culture and people. However, her insight into people comes through in the impeccable characterization in this novel.

Bresnahan does a fine job with the text. Not my favorite by LeGuin, but a nobel effort.

8 people found this helpful

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Roman Origin Myth with a Touch of Fantasy

Ursula LeGuin, a master of sci-fi and fantasy, takes an obscure character from Virgil and weaves a touching historical novel. Satisfying in a sweet and feminist way without much actual historical record.

3 people found this helpful

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Heart-felt, deep, engaging, and beautiful

This story is perfectly read. The story itself evokes myth and legend and the old religions and ancient people beyond anything else in Le guin's rich oevre. The time of Lavinia, just before, Rome, is a distant fantasy world made so alive and real as to feel both historical and magical, ancestral and fascinatingly other-worldly.

3 people found this helpful

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Loved this book.

What made the experience of listening to Lavinia the most enjoyable?

The narrator did a beautiful job giving voice to Lavinia. It was wonderful to hear this relatively minor character from one of the classic stories of our culture brought to life with the feminist perspective and the gorgeous, detailed, imaginative Le Guin writing.

What did you like best about this story?

The imaginative and detailed writing, I think.

If you could rename Lavinia, what would you call it?

A Feminist Retelling of an Old Dude's Story

7 people found this helpful

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captivating

I was told about this book in AP Latin about 10 years ago and finally got around to reading (well listening to) it. Lavinia is a beautiful prose that brought life to a background character in Virgil's Aeneid. This was beautifulyl narrated and despite knowing enough to know some of the details I found myself wanting to know Lavinia's side of the epic atory

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting story

Ursula K Le Guin is one of my favorite authors. I enjoyed listening to Lavinia.

2 people found this helpful

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Your Mother Is My Mother Too

I enjoyed Alyssa Bresnahan narration of Lavinia as her voice at times reminds me of my grandmother, my mother's mother, and this seemed correct rather than strange as Lavinia's story took shape.

My mother once described a visit to her mother's house with my father, who heard her and her mother and sister (and possibly my great grandmother) in the kitchen, or other room, call out for one of their men in the other room of the house, and he -or they -could not tell them apart, thinking my aunt or grandmother's voice was my mother's or great grandmothers. I may have been a tiny babe at that time. I can tell my mother's voice from my sister or my aunt or my grandmother, with a few words, even after months or in some cases years of not hearing from them. So Alyssa Bresnahan's voice is only similar, but not eerie in it's likeness. Comforting, in a way.

Lavinia is refreshingly mythic in telling of her life, she believes in the gods she worships, but she doesn't see them, they are like echoes or spirits, like her Poet - Virgil's shade, or a oracle. Like she in the end becomes, a immortal owl of Albunea.

It was interesting to me that both Circe and Lavinia nod towards a gay king at Rome's beginnings, Circe's son Telegonus (who's lover is unknown) and in Lavinia, Aeneas's son Ascanius, who's lover Atys' death causes him to share the burden of kingship with his brother Lavinia's son Silvius.

I would very much like to read a meeting these themes and between Ascanius, or Aeneas, and Telegonus but I haven't yet found such a book.

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Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin

Phenomenal novel. Imaginative and meticulously researched. I have read the book and twice listened in the following order to Audible editions of Prof. Elizabeth Vandiver’s lectures on The Aeneid, Robert Fagle’s translation of The Aeneid narrated and this wonderful audio production of Lavinia. Drive time is much better with audio books than being bombarded with so much bad news on the radio. Thanks. John Enrico Douglas