The Last World

The Last World

by Christoph Ransmayr

View All Available Formats & Editions

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This beautifully evocative fable resets in contemporary time the Roman world of the poet Ovidius Naso, exiled in 8 A.D. to barbarous Tomi (in modern Bulgaria) on the Black Sea. Naso's friend Cotta is seeking the poet in Tomi, now an iron-mining town, among characters who are modern counterparts of mythic figures in Naso's Metamorphoses , in which humans were transformed into stars, animals, trees, rocks. Affirming their link to the savage landscape, these people reenact ancient myths, e.g., Dis and Proserpina, gods of Hades, are now Thies, a refugee German grave-digger and his quarrelsome fiancee. Cotta finds the theme of transformation in the mimes of carnival revelers, and in films projected on the slaughterhouse wall of Tereus the butcher. That great authors cannot be silenced, and that myth permeates our lives, are two messages of a book that sometimes stretches too far in its effort to emulate the style of Ovidian epic poetry. Wood's translation from the German is graceful. Ransmayr's first novel, The Terrors of Ice and Darkness , will appear in English in 1991. (Apr.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
This novel--currently being translated into 30 languages--evokes at its best the disintegration of ancient Rome, ``a docile society that submitted to the surveillance of even its bedrooms.'' It is this bureaucratic, repressive society that banishes the poet Ovid. The publisher suggests that the book is a cultural/political fable. If so, it is as unclear as the steps the poet takes, which are retraced by his admirer, Cotta. In the remote port of Tomi strange metamorphoses occur: village idiot into stone, ropemaker into wolf. The reader is helped through the phantasmagoric events and myth-ridden landscape by a 36-page Ovidian repertory of characters, but even with the fine writing, the hailing of this `` quest '' novel as a modern masterpiece leaves this reader as mystified as the stumbling Cotta.-- Peter Bricklebank, City Coll., CUNY

Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st English language ed

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >