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Summary

The Roman poet Ovid, exiled to a remote village on the edge of the Black Sea, tells the story of his meeting with a feral boy, brought up among wild animals in the snow. 

It is a luminous encounter between civilisation and nature.  

In the first century AD, Publius Ovidius Naso, the most urbane and irreverant poet of imperial Rome, was banished to a remote village on the edge of the Black Sea. From these sparse facts, one of our most distinguished novelists has fashioned an audacious and supremely moving work of fiction.   

Marooned on the edge of the known world, exiled from his native tongue, Ovid depends on the kindness of barbarians who impate their dead and converse with the spirit world. But then he becomes the guardian of a still more savage creature, a feral child who has grown up among deer. 

What ensues is a luminous encounter between civilisation and nature, as enacted by a poet who once catalogued the treacheries of love and a boy who slowly learns how to give it.

©1978 David Malouf (P)2019 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

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Beautifully written and beautifully read.

Recommended by my therapist and I understand why. Important book and a very enjoyable listen.

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  • Gail N.
  • 05-02-21

Overly intellectual with a fussy narrator

Despite his critical acclaim, David Malouf seems to always fall short of expectations. This short novel is no exception. Although the author has chosen Ovid's exile as his starting point, the story has very little to do with Ovid as a character based in his historical reality. The story is monotonous and long winded. The narrator is fussy and prissy but totally suits the prose he is reading. I kept hoping things would improve and for a short while in the middle and again at the end, I felt engaged. But otherwise, it was a slog.