- Taschenbuch: 400 Seiten
- Verlag: Vintage; Auflage: New Ed (3. April 2003)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0099284588
- ISBN-13: 978-0099284581
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 2,5 x 19,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 256.569 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Dream Of Scipio (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 3. April 2003
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With his admirable craftsmanship and the rich emotional life Iain Pears grants his beautifully drawn characters, he has created a considerable following for his remarkable novels. The Dream of Scipio is a novel of great ambition that simultaneously engages the emotional and intellectual capacities of the reader while always remaining compulsively readable.
Set in Provence at three crucial moments of Western civilisation (the final collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, the Black Death in the 14th century, and the Second World War in the 20th), Pears presents the lives of three men. Manlius Hippomanes is an aristocrat, obsessively concerned with the preservation of Roman civilisation; Olivier de Noyen is a poet; and Julian Barneuve is an intellectual who makes the mistake of joining the corrupt Vichy government. Pears weaves his dazzling and discursive narrative through the troubled lives of each man, the common thread being the classical text which is the books title-- a work of challenging philosophical inquiry. The other common denominator is the love each man has for a remarkable woman.
It is difficult to know where to begin in praising the achievement of this rigorous but infinitely beguiling book. The novel of ideas has been moribund for quite some time, but Pears breathes rude life into the genre with an epic that echoes the achievements of Robert Graves and André Gide. The balance between the key questions of existence and the passionate, life-affirming solidity that the author grants to his characters is impeccable, and all three protagonists are forcefully characterised.
But above all, this is a piece of storytelling that almost redefines the very notion of the art: luminescent entertainment by a master, even more impressive than An Instance of the Fingerpost, the book which first drew attention to Pears highly individual skills.--Barry Forshaw -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
"Irresistibly seizes the imagination" (Evening Standard)
"Combining the visceral pleasures of a thriller with the more intellectual excitements of a novel of ideas... Beautifully constructed...never less than engrossing" (Sunday Telegraph)
"Vivid, admirably imagined, ultimately very moving...This is a novel of the very highest ambition...immediate, sensuous, beautiful" (Alan Massie Scotsman)
"Combines dazzling erudition with assured narrative skills to offer glimpses of some of history's darkest corners, and stark and timely challenges to the very notions of civilisation and progress" (Independent on Sunday)
"A dazzling hall of mirrors... Ferociously ambitious... Illumined by a fizzing passion for the recondite" (Daily Telegraph)
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Needless to say, it still sits by my bedside table for when sleep won't come.
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But it seems to me that only one reviewer and the author of flap piece noticed the crucial point of the book: it is about a quest for unrestrained power at any price.
All three historical episodes in Dreams describe the power games that go through the same stages regardless of the century described: "do-good" doctrine of power seeker, his slow ascent to power, removal of his contenders and insiders, his glorious legacy for the generations to come.
I would guess that the author was a pretty diligent student of game theory. If you read this novel with such notion in mind, its ending does not appear abrupt or illogical. Enjoy the read.
The book is set in a small section of southern France, but his characters live in three widely separated historical eras: The final days of the Roman Empire, the time of the great plague which devastated Europe in the mid 14th century and the German occupation of World War II. In each case we see good people doing evil things for what the feel are morally sound reasons and bad people doing good things for their own selfish reasons. The book is more complicated than that--in Pears" vision, life is not black and white but various shades of grey. Still, he seems to say, there are some things one must not do; not for any reason.
This is an unsettling novel; an uncompromising look at reality that makes for compelling reading. It is a book I could not put down, even when it actually became painful to continue reading.
The thread running through the three stories, all of which deal with moral dilemmas posed by an oncoming collapse, is the title of the book, a manuscript entitled "The Dream of Scipio," written by a fifth-century Roman, Manlius, who converts to Christianity in order to try to preserve what is left of the Western Roman Empire. The manuscript is discovered by Olivier de Noyen, poet, scholar, aide to a powerful Cardinal, in 1348, and rediscovered in 20th-century France by intellectual Julien Barneuve.
In each of the stories the protagonists are faced with moral choices--must a few be sacrificed to save the many? And it's left to the reader to determine whether they've made the right choices or not. Pears, with his deadpan prose, offers no opinion.
The tale is a chilly one. (Some may put the book down and select another after reading the opening sentence.) And if you stick with it you'll probably be consulting reference books to read up on the history of the periods Pears writes about (he helpfully supplies a timeline).
Pears makes no missteps. He accomplishes what he sets out to do, but when you've finished it you'll probably want to run outside and take a walk in the sunshine.