Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: The Love-Artist by Jane Alison

Title: The Love-Artist
Author: Jane Alison
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publish Date: April 1, 2001
Source: Owned

What's the Story?:

From "Why was Ovid, the most popular author of his day, banished to the edges of the Roman Empire? Why do only two lines survive of his play Medea, reputedly his most passionate work and perhaps his most Accomplished? Between the known details of the poet's life and these enigmas, Jane Alison has Interpolated a haunting drama of passion and psychological manipulation. 

On holiday at the Black Sea, on the fringes of the Empire, Ovid encounters an almost otherworldly woman who seems to embody the fictitious creations of his soon-to-be-published Metamorphoses. Part healer, part witch, she seems myth come to life. Enchanted and obsessed -- and, for the first time in a long while, flush with inspiration -- Ovid takes her back with him to Rome. But the inexorable pull of ambition leads him to make a Faustian bargain with fate that will betray his newfound muse. As the two of them become entangled in its snares, the reader is drawn deep into an ingeniously enacted meditation on love, art, and the desire for immortality."

My Two Cents:

"The Love Artist" is the story of the famous poet, Ovid, and his exile from Rome. Not much is known about why exactly he was exiled. Not much is known about what his life was like when he was exiled. The author is able to take what we do know and create a fascinating story about what may have happened to Ovid during that time period.

The book is definitely a quiet one and takes a little while to truly hit its stride. It eventually gets there but it just takes a little bit. It slowly unfolds as we find out about Ovid's exile and the woman that he meets there that will change the course of his life, both personal and creative. He very quickly falls in love with a woman that may have become the muse for Ovid's Medea, of which only two lines survive today. This woman is mysterious. She may even have some magical qualities and she may actually be a witch. Ovid molds her character into the perfect character for his work.

I liked the settings in this book most of all. I still have not read all that much historical fiction set in ancient times and I really find myself appreciating books that have a lot of detail about the setting. I love armchair traveling and definitely appreciated exploring somewhere new.

Overall, this was an interesting look at Ovid's life.  



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