By David Malouf

Within the first century advert, Publius Ovidius Naso, the main urbane and irreverant poet of imperial Rome, was once banished to a distant village at the fringe of the Black Sea. From those sparse proof, one in every of our so much individual novelists has formed an audacious and supremely relocating paintings of fiction.

Marooned at the fringe of the recognized global, exiled from his local tongue, Ovid will depend on the kindness of barbarians who impate their useless and communicate with the spirit international. yet then he turns into the mum or dad of a nonetheless extra savage creature, a feral baby who has grown up between deer. What ensues is a luminous stumble upon among civilization and nature, as enacted through a poet who as soon as catalogued the treacheries of affection and a boy who slowly learns the way to provide it.

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Additional resources for An Imaginary Life

Example text

He came just when he was expected. One day as Jacob en­ tered the school staff-room he saw awaiting him there a well-dressed, elderly man, accompanied by a tall and attractive girl. After Jacob had greeted his benefactor-or perhaps even before-Susan offered him her warm, finely-shaped hand and spoke to him as an old friend, using the intimate du and looking at him as if she still saw before her the boy he had once been. And yet in her glance there was inquiry as well as remembrance, ( zs) S. Y.

But here I'm smoking, and I haven't offered you a cigar. Actually it's a sin to smoke tobacco in this wonderful fragrant air. But what can I do? It's my addiction. If I'm reading a newspaper or talking to someone, of course I smoke. ' He laughed in the way people do who make fun of their own weaknesses and yet are quite con­ rented with them. ' The Consul tasted some brandy. 'Not bad, dry land? S . Y. AGNON really,' he commented. After a second glass he gave it fuller praise. 'This brandy,' said Rechnitz, 'is from Rishon le Zion.

V As we have said, Jacob Rechnitz set out for the Land of Israel, financed in part by the prize he had won from the university, in part by the Consul's aid; for when his course was completed and his doctorate granted, Ehrlich invited him to dine out in celebration, and presented him with a sum of money which saved him from the immediate ne­ cessity of seeking a post. The gift was made to seem not a matter of financial aid but rather a token of affection and esteem. It was in keeping S. Y. AGNON with all that the Consul had done for him, and touched him so deeply that a refusal was out of the question.

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