If you don’t remember Lavinia from The Aeneid, that’s because she never spoke a word. Ursula K. Le Guin, best known for her science fiction, decided to give her a voice and we are all better for it. Lavinia, the daughter of a king, has a good life until suitors begin to appear and the prophesy is issued: she must marry a foreigner, she’ll be the cause of war, and her husband is destined to live only a short time. She decides to chart her own course instead and live a life Virgil could never have imagined.
“A transporting novel told in the voice of a girl Virgil left in the margins. It is an absorbing, reverent, magnificent story” from the iconic, award-winning Ursula K. Le Guin (Cleveland Plain Dealer).
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, Ursula K. Le Guin gives Lavinia a voice in a novel that takes us to the half-wild world of ancient Italy, when Rome was a muddy village near seven hills.
Lavinia grows up knowing nothing but peace and freedom, until suitors come. Her mother wants her to marry handsome, ambitious Turnus. But omens and prophecies spoken by the sacred springs say she must marry a foreigner—that she will be the cause of a bitter war—and that her husband will not live long. When a fleet of Trojan ships sails up the Tiber, Lavinia decides to take her destiny into her own hands. And so she tells us what Vergil did not: the story of her life, and of the love of her life.