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The Love-artist Hardcover – 4 Feb 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (4 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749005475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749005474
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,463,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A small, twinkling jewel of a novel...wonderfully seductive...[Alison] has found a voice, at once modern and archaic, lyrical and potent, that mesmerizes the reader." --Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times" "Stunning...a swirling parable that touches on the opposed sorceries of art and magic, on tyranny and rebellion, and on the struggle of male and female." --Richard Eder, "The New York Times Book Review" "Exquisitely direct and moving...a powerful love story." --Michael Sheldon, "Baltimore Sun" "Brings alive Ovid's genius for poetry and savage thirst for immortality." --Deirdre Donahue, "USA Today"

About the Author

Jane Alison has a bachelor's degree in Classics from Princeton and an MFA from Columbia University. She lives in Germany. The Love-Artist is her first novel.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Sept. 2003
Format: Hardcover
This fascinating novel may seem at first to be a well-written romance or frothy bit of historical fiction. Alison's style from the outset is sensuously heavy, filled with lush impressions from an exotic area "on the farthest coast of the Black Sea, in the corner of the maps where sea monsters coiled...." The Roman poet Ovid is in self-exile here, having offended the moralistic Emperor Augustus with his erotic book, The Art of Love, and we come to empathize with him through his interior monologues. The dense imagery familiar in Ovid's poetry shines here, not only in his description of Pontus, but also of the beguiling Xenia, a priestess and practitioner of magic.
When Xenia returns to Rome with Ovid, however, the exoticism and romanticism become less an end in themselves and more a part of the psychological atmosphere, and the author begins actively to solicit the reader's curiosity. Ovid, with Augustus's granddaughter Julia as his patroness and Xenia as his inspiration, begins work on his play Medea, from which only two lines have survived to the present day. Here the novel is less straightforward and less overtly romantic, acquiring a sense of great mystery, consistent with the mystery both of Ovid's tragic play and of the Medea legend itself.
Love, jealousy, revenge, rage, the fear of rejection, and the desire for immortality, so vividly exemplified in the tragedy of the legendary Medea, find their parallels in life here, as Xenia, Ovid, and Julia play out their triangle of misunderstandings. Omitting all the usual narrative signals that help to mold the reader's thinking, Alison reveals instead what Xenia, Ovid, and Julia, are thinking and feeling, leaving it up to the reader to figure out what has happened to these characters that makes them feel and act the way they do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Love Artist - Jane Alison
Historical fiction/mythical fiction/romance

I picked this up for an online course about Historical Fiction and it covers the basis well enough. Set in the period of Emperor Augustus it charts the mysterious exile of the poet Ovid and his missing Medea manuscript. Exiled to Tomis on the Black Sea Ovid meets the mysterious Xenia, who is a good deal more than she first appears, witch, seer, almost ethereal in her ways, but at the same time very innocent and troubled.

This story contains so much - love, jealousy, intrigue, the quest for immortality and most important - metamorphosis. These themes are interwoven, metamorphosis changes love to jealous, obsession to failure, politics to hatred, and past and future all cleverly done with reference to Ovid's own Metamorphosis. Almost bordering on fantasy or magical realism it must be remembered this is set in a time when magic and was considered real and our own beliefs and concepts should be put aside when reading this, to truly enjoy it.

A lot of research went into the book, including visits to modern Rome and retracing footsteps, visits to museums, reading of primary archives, including Ovid himself and it shows. Although in places it is not a hundred per cent accurate the overall descriptions are sound, building a vivid world in both Tomis and the more decadent and corrupt Rome.

The love affair was intense but did meander a little towards the end, it was interesting to see the shift however, from the happiness in Tomis and early on in Rome to the jealously and distrust at the end. As Ovid's work culminates so does their affair. Each is the other's muse but in many ways each is unaware. They are looking for immortality, the quest to find the essence of it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was in good condition when it arrived.... I have delved into it a little and am looking forward to reading more.
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I did not find it a particularly easy read. There is not much in the way of a plot, its all enshrouded in mystery and flamboyant writing
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ottimo
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