Runners Who Read

Who knew? A bunch of runners who enjoy reading and discussing what they read.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Currently reading ...

More historical fiction for me after Patrick O'Brian's Post Captain -- this time, a trip to ancient Rome: Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated from the French by Grace Frick. This was just recently reprinted for the first time in many years by FSG -- I had read a profile on Yourcenar in the New Yorker earlier this spring and became interested in the book from what was said there.

I'm only about 100 pages into this 400+ page book, but this is some of the most elegant, perceptive writing I've encountered since reading the Lydia Davis translation of Proust's Swann's Way. It's a work of fiction in the form of a long letter from the dying emperor Hadrian to his grandson, remembering his life and the events that took place. Like Patrick O'Brian, Yourcenar has the genius to immerse you fully in the period she's writing about -- I would swear it's a real classical Roman memoir!

I'll save the rest for a full book report, but if you're just in the mood to admire what has to be some of the finest pure writing currently available (and in a translation, no less), check it out.

-- Ed Brickell

2 Comments:

Blogger Nels Nelson said...

Ed - did you see the piece on Slate yesterday re. the search for the best/most accurate madeleine recipe?

10:15 AM  
Blogger RWR said...

Nels -- I checked the link on your blog and intend to read it sometime this week; sounds like fun.

Ed

10:46 AM  

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