Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Ten top historical novels

Alix Christie is the author of the novel Gutenberg's Apprentice. One of her ten favorite historical novels, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar

This novel-as-memoir of the Roman emperor Hadrian takes the form of a letter to Marcus Aurelius, his successor and adopted grandson. Yourcenar thought it absurd to try to recapture the speech of a distant era; the novel has no dialogue and virtually no plot. Yet this great leader's recollection of his life is utterly compelling. What Yourcenar captures is Hadrian's thought itself—his deeply considered and fascinating observations on leadership, love and statecraft. Nor is this exercise in "sustained empathy" purely philosophical; Hadrian's relationship with his lover Antinous is deeply affecting.
Read about another entry on the list.

Memoirs of Hadrian is among Rabih Alameddine's six favorite novels, John Mullan's ten best emperors in literature, and Teju Cole's top 10 novels of solitude.

--Marshal Zeringue