Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Counting the Stars" by Helen Dunmore

Gaius Valerius Catullus is probably ancient Rome's best known love poet (although some might award that title to Ovid). His poems about his on-again, off-again relationship with an older Roman noblewoman have inspired and frustrated devotees of Latin poetry for centuries. In fact, Catullus can be credited with being the first poet to encapsulate the vexaciousness of relationships. His words "odi et amo" (I love you and I hate you) perfectly sum up the feelings of countless lovers through history. The British writer Helen Dunmore has written a novel about Catullus' greatest love affair titled Counting the Stars. Although reviewers hint that the plot may be a bit slow, Dunsmore's writing style turns the tale into a smoldering study of human emotion. The Modern Traveler will certainly be picking up a copy as soon as it is available stateside.

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