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Counting the Stars explained Counting the Stars, review Counting the Stars, trailer Counting the Stars, box office Counting the Stars, analysis Counting the Stars, Counting the Stars ecfd In The Heat Of Rome S Long Summer, The Poet Catullus And His Older Married Lover, Clodia Metelli, Meet In Secret Living At The Heart Of Sophisticated, Brittle And Brutal Roman Society At The Time Of Pompey, Crassus And Julius Caesar, Catullus Is Obsessed With Clodia, The Lesbia Of His Most Passionate Poems He Is Jealous Of Her Husband, Of Her Maid, Even Of Her Pet Sparrow And Clodia Catullus Is Her Dear Poet , But Possibly Not Her Only InterestTheir Rome Is A City Of Extremes Tenants Are Packed Into Ramshackle Apartment Blocks While Palatial Villas House The Magnificence Of The Families Who Control Rome Armed Street Gangs Clash In Struggles For Political Power Slaves Are The Eyes And Ears Of Everything That Goes On, While Civilization And Violence Are Equals, Murder Is The Easy Option And Poison The Weapon Of ChoiceCatallus Relationship With Clodia Is One Of The Most Intense, Passionate, Tormented And Candid In History In Love And In Hate, Their Story Exposes The Beauty And Terrors Of Roman Life In The Late Republic

  • Hardcover
  • 368 pages
  • Counting the Stars
  • Helen Dunmore
  • English
  • 17 October 2017
  • 9780670914548

About the Author: Helen Dunmore

I was born in December 1952, in Yorkshire, the second of four children My father was the eldest of twelve, and this extended family has no doubt had a strong influence on my life, as have my own children In a large family you hear a great many stories You also come to understand very early that stories hold quite different meanings for different listeners, and can be recast from many viewpoints



10 thoughts on “Counting the Stars

  1. says:

    This book follows the historical characters of the poet Catullus and his lover Clodia, during the Rome of Julius Caesar Catullus is involved with his scandalous lover, who also happens to be married, and he s a tortured artist, writing poems about her, and suffering the agony of not being able to marry her and be with her always.I enjoyed the descriptions of ancient Rome and its surrounds and the details of what life was like for the citizens and slaves of the day The inclusion of verses of Catullus actual poems was a nice touch, sprinkled throughout the book, as the events that supposedly brought those poems about unfolded.The story was enjoyable, but I felt like it never really fully gripped me, and it kind of just tapered off at the end.

  2. says:

    Fictional take on the historic love affair between the poet Catullus and Clodia scandal followed sister of rabble rousing and equally notorious Clodius Written in a similar style to The Siege in a third party present tense mainly around one narrator here Catullus which lends a sense of immediacy and oppression which here is initially the heat of summer but increasingly the oppression of love.The book does give a good take on Roman life in this late Republican period the growing decadence of Baiae the increasing menace in Suburbia and general rise in violence from Clodius and his gangs the growing wealth of the old families fuelled by corruption in overseas territories the increasing irrelevance of the Senate and brilliant orators such as Cicero at exactly the time their work is at a peakHere it seems heavily influenced by or at least drawing on similar sources and interpretation of those sources by the brilliant Rubicon The Last Years of the Roman Republic In some of the striking characterisation e.g Catullus s simultaneous love and hate fuelled obsession Dun appears to draw heavily on the poetry so it is unclear how original she is being The book s reading is helped by a knowledge of the events and characters of the period and would be enhanced by a knowledge of Latin and even by a familiarity with Catullus s verse.

  3. says:

    Odi et amo I hate and I love Catullus s ambivalent feelings towards mea puella my girl , Clodia, poured out in his Lesbia poems This novel is the author s imagining of the course of their passionate affair Catullus is absolutely besotted and obsessed with the woman and she a brutal tease, leading him on into the abyss There were a couple of subplots one involving the death of Clodia s husband due to a possible poisoning and Catullus s search to find what poison was used and who might have committed the murder also a section involving Catullus and his loyal freedman Lucius and a possible return to Catullus s home town to manage the family s property after the death of his brother I felt the course of the love affair has been overdone in literature The most interesting part to me was the investigation Even after discovering what kind of woman Clodia is, Catullus STILL believes her lies Dun portrayed her as femme fatale, practically as a psychopath, at least completely amoral, selfish, manipulative, and narcissistic and Catullus, a dupe fooling himself, caught in her toils I hadn t time for either of them Lucius and Aemilia, the slave, gained some sympathy The story just flowed, with Dun s elegant writing.

  4. says:

    Very little is known about the life of the Roman poet Catullus, but several of his poems have survived A little is known about the most likely original for his lover Lesbia , patrician wife Clodia Metelli, but much of that is rumour and speculation The author has taken the poems, the rumours and the few facts, and built a very human story of a love affair amid the politics and machinations of late republican Rome, the most populous city of the time.It is a very enjoyable book.

  5. says:

    Not for me, ended up skipping quite a lot and didn t feel I d missed much.

  6. says:

    Not that keen on this one Didn t care for the characters and had an unfinished feel to the ending.

  7. says:

    At first when I started reading this novel I wondered why Helen Dun didn t tell the story from Clodia s point of view After all Clodia is a famed woman of the Roman elite born 94 or 95 BC Why not grab at such a chance for us girls Put the record straight Dun is an accomplished writer across a wide expanse of history Her speciality seems to be to choose an interesting moment in time and then write a book about it whether it be D.H Lawrence in Cornwall, Finland in 1902 or Leningrad in 1941 Ancient Rome No problem I thought I would finally get into this mysterious woman s head At first I was disappointed that the book was from Catullus s point of view but gradually as the story unfolded and particularly by the end of the book, I realised the wisdom of Dun s decision This was the only way it could be told With Catullus as narrator there is not just his affair with this contradictory woman, but there is so much There is a mystery that the young poet is driven to investigate I loved his interviews with the aging prostitute Cynthia and the mesmerising Gorgo she is a sort of sere living in the slums of Rome Also his dealings with Clodia s faithful servant Aemilia, the last encounter at the end of the book, is particularly powerful.Someone so self obsessed as Clodia would probably not be very observant whereas a poet misses nothing There are descriptions of the lake retreat at Baiae, political squabbling in the streets of Rome and also glimpses of Catullus s childhood in Sermio There are also Catullus s memories of his mother and his dealings with important people in the Rome of his day My favourite passages are the poet s relationships with his brother and his faithful servant Lucius.I know these will stay with me long after Clodia ,and his love for her, are forgotten And that is as it should be, I think.

  8. says:

    Catullus was a controversial figure in the final, juiciest years of republican Rome, part of a group of new young poets who wrote plainly and scurrilously, openly slandering influential figures in their verse, such as Caeser himself The Lesbia of Catullus s poems is generally considered to be Clodia Metelli, daughter of a patrician family and wife to the conservative consul Metellus Celer She was a notorious adulterer, believed to have poisoned her husband and suspected of incest with her brother, the populist tribune Publius Clodius Pulcher It sounds like an explosive affair, right Unfortunately you wouldn t know that from the drabness of Dun s narrative This is obviously intended to represent a great love between a poet and his muse, a consuming passion where you burn with an uncontrollable fire , but Dun s lightweight rendering reduces it to the status of a mere fling, a childish, cloying indulgence between two empty headed sensualists.This period is so replete with towering historical figures, so rich in drama and intrigue, yet save for a second hand account of one of Cicero s most famous orations, Dun may just as well have presented an affair between a post master and a vicar s daughter, set somewhere in the modern day home counties In addition, the constant proliferation of prurient, gossipy asides and interjections from a chorus of imaginary citizens really annoyed me, only serving to hinder an already exasperating narrative.Dun is a successful poet as well as an Orange prize winning novelist, so she must have written better than this.

  9. says:

    I enjoyed this book fairly well, but there were often moments that jolted me out of the story There are weird shifts in tense, perspective and time that I think are meant to be artistic, but often than not they just end up being jarring A lot of the poem translations are really nice, but some are just stupid Excrucior does not mean I feel crucifiction come on now And all the while you sort of have to keep in mind that Catullus was a poet, not an autobiographer, and in Poem 16 he alludes to the fact that all the stuff he writes about may not be true, and we have very little evidence besides his poems that tells us anything about his life But for anybody who has read his poems, particularly the Lesbia cycle, this story does a really nice job of fictionally fleshing out their story, of expanding upon the emotions expressed in the poems and situating them in true to life contexts It s basically Catullus fan fic, only not super porny Great fun for classics geeks, probably not of much interest to other people.

  10. says:

    Many years ago, I studied Catullus for Latin O level, so I was intrigued by a novel about his life, especially as I like author Helen Dun and heard a talk by her about this novel a few weeks ago I mainly enjoyed it she is a poet herself and writes beautifully It s a bit frustrating that Clodia is only seen through Catullus eyes, as I d like to know what she is thinking at times and I found the use of modern slang in the dialogue a bit jarring at times, though I suppose that was the point, to make ancient Rome feel modern.

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