Death of an Ancient King

by Laurent Gaudé | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0007170289 Global Overview for this book
Registered by okyrhoe of Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on 10/23/2006
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7 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Monday, October 23, 2006
Original title in French: La mort du Roi Tsongor. Winner of the Prix de Goncourt des Lyceens* (2002) and the Prix des Libraires (2003). This book is also available in English as The Death of King Tsongor.

Although the plot is somewhat reminiscent of several epics, sagas and legends, the themes of love, honor, loyalty, betrayal, revenge, the futility of war, etc. are timeless and bound to be repeated in narratives of the historical/fantasy genres. Gaudé's novel weaves all of the above, and much more, in a brief but dramatic story.

This book can't be easily categorized as 'fantasy', as it lacks the typical features of the narrative style employed by popular contemporary fantasy writers. At first the spareness and simplicity of the language appears to be that of a children's book. However, the themes of the story and the style of the novel transcend both genres, children's and fantasy. (I also presume to interpret the central theme, the futility of warfare, as political commentary on the author's part).

Gaudé's style is 'dramatic' in the sense that The Death of an Ancient King contains the narrative quality of tragic poems/plays of the classical Greeks and Romans, or the ancient legends and oral traditions of Asian and African cultures. It will haunt you with its melancholy tone and spare but beautiful prose.


* Laurent Gaudé has also been awarded the Prix de Goncourt for his second novel Le soleil des Scorta (available in English as The House of Scorta).

Journal Entry 2 by okyrhoe from Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Monday, October 23, 2006
Starting a BOOK RAY for this.

Please PM if you are interested, and include your mailing preferences (whether you are able to post the book within your own country or continent, or if you can post internationally). This will be an international book ray.

I'll be adding to the list of participants below as soon as I hear from you.

I hope you enjoy this!

Tentative Book Ray order:

1 juicy-comrade
2 jinnayah
3 elizardbreath
4 frangipani08
5 BellaMack (in Australia ~ posts within Australia) <---- book is here
6
etc.

~ ~ ~ ~ > Please make a journal entry when you receive the book.

When you are done reading, contact the next reader via PM for their address to post the book to her/him. Also, add a journal entry (or edit your first one) with your comments about the book. Thanks!

Journal Entry 3 by juicy-comrade from Victoria, British Columbia Canada on Friday, December 01, 2006
I have it.

Journal Entry 4 by juicy-comrade from Victoria, British Columbia Canada on Thursday, January 04, 2007
I feel like I've been sitting on this for ages because I finished reading it almost as soon as it came in the mail. And then I started reading it again (because I loved it!) but December's tricky with finals, holidays, and planning, so I never did manage to finish that second read through. Not that I need it - the story is so vivid and beautiful that I can still see it. Even though everything that happens in the book is terrible, I was sucked right in and wanted to hear more. I'm going to be sad to send this one on; it's definitely made it to my list of favourite stories.

Journal Entry 5 by jinnayah from Ann Arbor, Michigan USA on Saturday, January 20, 2007
Good thing we decided to tidy up today! My husband discovered a paper bag, which I had assumed contained to-be-recycled stuff. Instead, it contained the mail we had received while away on a recent trip, including this bookring book. Will read soon & pass on.

Journal Entry 6 by jinnayah from Ann Arbor, Michigan USA on Thursday, February 01, 2007
Started reading in earnest last night. It's pretty absorbing. I won't say the simplicity is deceiving, but every now and then there are flashes of true feeling that I don't expect (e.g. when Samilia and Kouane meet for the first time).

Another interesting moment was the final interaction between Katabalonga and Tsongor. Why did Tsongor insist that Katabalonga participate in a way he no longer wished? He could have taken care of himself completely (I'm trying not to spoil directly). It's a sign of friendship, I suppose, a sign of interdependence.

Journal Entry 7 by jinnayah from Ann Arbor, Michigan USA on Monday, February 05, 2007
Mailed to elizardbreath this afternoon. I picked the book up this morning and thought, "Oh, no, I don't want to read this." I'm glad others enjoyed it so much--it just isn't for me, I suppose.

Note to elizardbreath: BellaMack just cancelled on another bookring of which I now have custody. Take your time, because the next person is swamped!

Journal Entry 8 by elizardbreath from Bella Vista, Arkansas USA on Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I received this several days ago but forgot to journal it...sorry! I have a few others to finish up first and since it sounds like I can take my time, I will :)

Journal Entry 9 by elizardbreath from Bella Vista, Arkansas USA on Friday, March 02, 2007
I got over half way through this book and then just had to put it down. For one thing, I have found that I'm not much of a "fable kind of girl". Also, I just found the story,well...I'm sorry, but it was just dumb. So anyway, I did give it a good shot..I think I got to pg. 140. I'm sending this off to frangipani08 today.

Journal Entry 10 by frangipani08 from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Received in today's mail. Thanks elizardbreath and okyroe! I look forward to reading it as it has a mixed bag of comments. Another ray to read before I can get to this one but won't be too long.

Journal Entry 11 by frangipani08 from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Sunday, March 25, 2007
Determined to catch up on bookrings so read this in one day. A thought provoking read that makes you wonder what legacy each of us will leave and how we will be remembered. I didn't like to finish the book without knowing how Samilia fared but life doesn't always tie things up neatly either. Thanks okyrhoe for sharing this book. I will send it on it's way to Bellamack soon.

Journal Entry 12 by frangipani08 from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Thursday, March 29, 2007
In the mail to Bellamack today. Thanks again okyrhoe!Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Journal Entry 13 by BellaMack from St Helens, Tasmania Australia on Sunday, April 15, 2007
Received today...looking forward to reading this book . Thanks for sharing.

Journal Entry 14 by BellaMack from St Helens, Tasmania Australia on Monday, December 03, 2007
The book itself was absorbing and I read it in one sitting. The word which springs immediately to mind is 'futility' - the achievement of nothing through great effort and sacrifice. Without spoiling the book for the next reader , although I enjoyed the read, I didn't find one character with particularly redeeming qualities.

Making this book available in the Aussie Virtual Bookbox for someone else to enjoy.

Journal Entry 15 by wingcrimson-tidewing from Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Chose this one from the Oz VBB.
Thanks BellaMack.

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