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A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening:…
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A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening: A Novel (original 1997; edição 2001)

por Mário de Carvalho, Gregory Rabassa

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1936111,177 (4)8
Winner of the Portuguese Writers' Association Grand Prize for Fiction and the Pegasus Prize for Literature, and a best-seller in Portugal, Mario de Carvalho's A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening is a vivid and affecting historical novel set at the twilight of the Roman Empire and the dawn of the Christian era. Lucius Valerius Quintius is prefect of the fictitious city of Tarcisis, charged to defend it against menaces from without -- Moors invading the Iberian peninsula -- and from within -- the decadent complacency of the Pax Romana. Lucius's devotion to civic duty undergoes its most crucial test when Iunia Cantaber, the beautiful, charismatic leader of the outlawed Christian sect, is brought before his court. A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening is a timeless story of an era beset by radical upheaval and a man struggling to reconcile his heart, his ethics, and his civic duty.… (mais)
Membro:owenino
Título:A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening: A Novel
Autores:Mário de Carvalho
Outros autores:Gregory Rabassa
Informação:Grove Press (2001), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:****
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening por Mário de Carvalho (1997)

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    Roman Wall por Bryher (pitjrw)
    pitjrw: Fictional reflections on the end of civilization
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Mostrando 1-5 de 6 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Wonderful novel set in, I suspect, Roman Pax Julia in Lusitania (Beja in present-day Portugal) about a magistrate reflecting on his final tumultuous year in office as a dictator of a fortress town during the rule of Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180).

It is a reflexive narrative in the first person, whereby the retired magistrate (duumvir, Lucius) looks back on his final year in office in Tarcisis, a reminiscence triggered by a visit of a former plaintiff in this city (Proserpinus, as a reader we suspect he has played a role in the dramatic events about to be unveiled, but we are not sure what role – an example of a the subtle suspense that de Carvalho spins). Lucius and his silent, but loyal, wife Mara are confronted by a whirlpool of events that inexorably amount to a crisis. An upstart baker cum tavern owner, a freedman, starts a populist campaign to become aedile; an obscure sect (Christians) wins the daughter of a respectable equestrian family for its cause; a horde of Moors invades southern Lusitania and emerges at the city’s gates; a disaffected, fatally ill, Roman equestrian citizen protests the demolition of his villa for the sake of strengthening the city’s defence by committing suicide in a public manner; a duplicitous senator moves behind the scenes to secure his legacy (in the end by adopting the populist baker as his heir), and a group of decemvirs absconds its responsibility by bombarding Lucius to sole dictator as only magistrate. Lucius tries to navigate all these pressures and power houses, taking unpopular measures that prove key in saving the city, at the expense of his own reputation and career. ( )
  alexbolding | Oct 1, 2021 |
I first read this book in May this year [2013]. I just finished rereading it [July 2013] and I have increased the stars from 4 to 5.

Languid. Thought-provoking.

This novel takes place in the Roman province of Lusitania [present-day Portugal], in a small town, Tarcisis, which the author informs us never existed. We first see Lucius Valerius Quintius, the main character, in his country villa with his wife, Mara. Taking a walk along the riverbank, he sees a slave boy drawing a fish in the sand. Upon Lucius' questioning, the frightened boy runs off, spilling the berries he had been gathering. Later, back home, Lucius decides to write down what had happened when he had been duumvir [magistrate] in the town, in the days of Marcus Aurelius. Yes, there is "action", and plenty of it--the arrest of a bandit, an attack on Tarcisis by Moors from North Africa, a siege that follows, and discovery and trial of Christians.

The main thrust of the story is the psychology of Lucius's character. We read every thought, every doubt, every agony over every decision. Lucius is a good, honest, idealistic man, with his honorable code of right and wrong. He wrestles with himself. Sometimes his loving, loyal wife interjects her common sense.

He is attracted to and is obsessed by Iunia, the daughter of an old friend he had grown up with. She is the charismatic, zealot lay leader of Christians in the town. He doesn't know why he has the feelings he does and tells us so. Any interaction between the two is completely chaste. The story represents a conflict between idealism [Lucius] and Realpolitik [the other civil servants in authority, a candidate for the office of aedile, and a senator]. You could almost take it as an allegory for today.

The details of small-town life were described so marvellously and so vividly. What stood out was the moonlight walk Lucius takes with Aulus, the town centurion, along the walls of the town and the aqueduct. They are expecting an attack and want to investigate the walls for weakness. I also remember Lucius's visit to Rome with a delegation from his home town, years before. His private conversations, with Marcus Aurelius then and with the senator, years later, mirror each other.

Lucius was not 'heroic' but very human and very sympathetic. This novel was thoughtful and absolutely unforgettable! Most highly recommended! ( )
1 vote janerawoof | Oct 17, 2014 |
Quiet study of a magistrate in an out of the way Roman province, later Portugal. He’s devoted to Marcus Aurelius, who turns out to be more a realist than himself… I found it a believable novel, perhaps because it avoids the sensational. Not that it lacks plot or drama.

With this one I felt the need for a translator’s note. Maybe I ought to lie back and trust the translator, but in the early stages I was distracted by uncertainty over an oddity of expression, whether theequivalent is in the Portuguese... Our magistrate is writing memoirs. Near the end of the book, while trying to compose a missive fit for the eyes of Marcus Aurelius, he himself talks of his provincial style, his eloquence that comes out grandiloquence. I had before then decided that he tries to emulate the writings of Marcus Aurelius, not always felicitously (I thought of Dostoyevsky’s provincial narrators). But when it’s a translation and not an original before me, I’m more cautious in how to interpret stylistic features, and I wanted the reassurance of a report on these in the original -- or the translator's idea of them, that he has rendered in English. ( )
  Jakujin | Apr 19, 2014 |
History - good read. ( )
  dgbdgb | Jun 13, 2011 |
First things first - _A God Strolling..._ was an engaging read. Previous reviewers have touched on the excellent development of setting and atmosphere, and I agree that de Carvalho pulls the reader into a colorful and complex representation of the Roman Empire at the precise moment it began to wane. The book is certainly worth reading for this reason alone, especially for those interested in historical fiction.

But above all, the book is a character study; the protagonist Quintius is its focus. As a character study, the book left me wanting a bit more - it's not the study of a strong and inspiring character as the other reviews here suggest. The N.Y. Times review above focuses on his "moral code, as well as a provocative meditation on the difficulty of leading a virtuous life in as era of tumultuous change." Quintius is a reluctant magistrate, forced into the seat of power by lazy demagogues who would rather not be burdened with responsibility. And though Quintius holds steadfastly to his perception of duty as a Roman citizen, his perception is out of step with the society around him. Rather than drawing strength from his convictions and being a strong ruler, he seems buffeted by the sea of events around him: political rivals, threats from without, the emerging Christian faith within his city, and a strange obsession with a female, Iunia.

In short this is not an inspiring story of the triumph of a moral soul, but a study of the torture of seeing things differently than the masses. If this was the author's desired effect, then the book is an unqualified success. However, I thought some of the tools used in reaching this end were under-developed. Quintius' obsession with Iunia drives the novel near the end, and I never understood the motivation for this relationship (admittedly, I guess neither did Quintius...). And ultimately, I hoped to see a development or substantial change in the protagonist in the end, and found little.

Readers who enjoy Jose Saramago will likely find de Carvalho interesting. I enjoyed reading the book. I don't know if I _liked_ the book. If you crave historical ambiance, or generating feelings of uneasiness in yourself, you will enjoy reading the book. I'm not sure if you'll _like_ it either, though... ( )
1 vote JoK | May 2, 2010 |
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Winner of the Portuguese Writers' Association Grand Prize for Fiction and the Pegasus Prize for Literature, and a best-seller in Portugal, Mario de Carvalho's A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening is a vivid and affecting historical novel set at the twilight of the Roman Empire and the dawn of the Christian era. Lucius Valerius Quintius is prefect of the fictitious city of Tarcisis, charged to defend it against menaces from without -- Moors invading the Iberian peninsula -- and from within -- the decadent complacency of the Pax Romana. Lucius's devotion to civic duty undergoes its most crucial test when Iunia Cantaber, the beautiful, charismatic leader of the outlawed Christian sect, is brought before his court. A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening is a timeless story of an era beset by radical upheaval and a man struggling to reconcile his heart, his ethics, and his civic duty.

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