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I picked up this book seeking an account of the life of Catullus What we get isn t quite that Rather, it s about the love affair between Catullus and Clodia And while I would expect that to be the centerpiece of any book on Catullus, the focus is so unending that it leaves room for little else in terms of plot How often do you need to see Catullus sneaking off to be with her or her repeated snubbing of him to get the idea I don t know Perhaps I m simply not the target audience for this book.Other than that the book is very good The writing style is rather too melodramatic for my tastes you can practically hear the thunder crashing off a gloomy man in a dinner jacket swilling whiskey around his glass but it does the trick It is a bit overwritten Metaphors and similes are constant and nature seems to personify the events taking place But again, it works for the story it s trying to tell The book is written as if in flashback by Caelius Rufus, who s sitting in a hut in Verona feeling uneasy about his relationship to the dead poet and whether he could have helped him As such, an ominous sense of dread is entirely appropriate.Accuracy wise, the book is amazing It gets the feel of Rome exactly and manages to capture most of the details The political events are accurate as well, even if the book barely focuses on them The only critiques I ll make is that I didn t buy the depiction of Caesar which doesn t bode well for Kay s novel on the man and I didn t quite buy Catullus either He worked as a character, but I ve never really considered him a romantic figure He was in love with Clodia not a very nice person by any account then he despised her Either way he seemed excessive in his emotions How much of that was his personality and how much affectation I don t know But I never thought it particularly sweet Maybe I just don t care for poetry.This is the sort of book I suspect others may like than I do I can appreciate it, but it left me fairly unfulfilled It s good enough to be worth a read if any of this sounds at all your sort of thing.Plot 4 Plot Characters 6 well defined and complicated enough Accuracy 10 I didn t notice any major errors I read the summary for this book and was intrigued I had been looking for a book about Catullus for a while, so I decided to give her a chance as an author, as she had several books that I was interested in Unfortunately, this turned out to be a bust It suffers from the most unfortunate problems a book can have it was, plain and simple, boring I couldn t manage to get through the entirety of this sometimes slow paced, sometimes overdramatic book, and it was so uninteresting that the only scene I can remember was an overly described threesome between Catullus, the narrator Caelius, and a random girl, which was uncomfortably erotic than entertaining If you re into that, I guess this is a good book for you But if not, I d suggest looking elsewhere. I think I d give this 4.5 stars rather than 5, because Steven Saylor s The Venus Throw is still for me the best and most realistic depiction of the Catullus Clodia relationship and everything that came between them most especially in how it unpacks the gender and power elements of Catullan love elegy, and the way in which it makes Clodia the lover of her brother and Caelius without ever judging her , and also I find Clodia s presence at the mysteries of Cybele highly unlikely, but I loved this In particular, where this does really well is in rooting our characters firmly in Rome not only in the landscape of the city itself which is gorgeously described , but in the life of the city its politics, its bars, its festivals, its atmosphere This couldn t be anything other than the Late Republic, and I love how evocative it is I also adore the unreliable narration because he spends much of the book imagining events through Catullus s eyes, there is so much that Caelius doesn t tell you not least about his own role in what happened and which only slowly comes to light It s a really clever way of retelling a story which is well known to anyone who s read Catullus s poems and studied this period.But there s also a lot that Caelius doesn t explicitly tell you because he himself doesn t understand and the reader does view spoiler Not least Caelius s real motives for sleeping with Clodia he thinks he s jealous of Catullus, but it s clear to the reader that s not it at all If anything, he s jealous of Clodia he loves and adores Catullus and wants Catullus s affection and attention for himself, cf the sharing of the girl, his feelings at the party, his attempts to get his own Clodia in the form of Flora, and how all his relationships with women have been ultimately unsatisfactory But he never puts all these pieces together Even his reasoning for telling Catullus where Clodia has gone after the Pro Caelio seems suspect he claims that Catullus would stop loving her if he could see what she d been reduced to and so it would free him, but that s not exactly likely to happen, given how firmly Catullus has loved her up to now Instead, I think it s an apology, a way of bringing them together after he was the one who pushed them apart.I was a bit doubtful about the portrayal of Clodia as someone who has multiple partners beyond Caelius and Catullus though interestingly, unlike Saylor, Jaro never makes anything of the rumours of incest between Clodia and her brother , especially coupled to Catullus s forgiving Caelius for his betrayal, but it makes sense her unhappy marriage to Metellus has made her incapable of settling into a happy and stable relationship, even if she loves Catullus and I believe she does She has to destroy it because steady commitment, and importantly the vulnerability it implies, feels like a trap or a fetter So she tries to push Catullus away and despises him because no matter what she does, he won t ever leave her It s a far complex and nuanced picture than I had been expecting, and a fascinating one, if also incredibly sad hide spoiler The Key by Benito Kane Jaro is a novel I really wanted to love A friend whose acumen I respect had effused over it There are things in it I admire, but can only give it two stars.Ms Jaro writes well and I have marked a dozen paragraphs that are so perfect in their harmonies and counterpoint that they arise to the level of genius I will type those paragraphs out that I might study carefully how she crafted them.However, the book is unconvincing as a narrative and rather tedious Its strongest aspect is Caelius s devotion guilt to the dead Catullus Its weakest aspect is the crux of the matter, the love of Catullus for Clodia Ms Jaro gives the reader not as single scene showing the two of them in blandishments, laughing together or sharing memories Instead, we have many pages of sensual love making, and too many pages of reiterating how much Catullus loves her, but not a paragraph to show on what such as love could be based It rings false A Kim Kardashian would not have captivated Catullus I don t believe it In the novel Clodia is just a shadow character, not a real person.Ms Jaro toys with the reader in the fourth and last chapter Instead of rushing ahead to the climax of the matter, she spins the wheels interminably in the snow and ice And Oh the suspenseful melodrama I Caelius see now what my honesty has brought me I will have to tell him I have gone too far, and he has a right to know And for myself, I think perhaps it is worth the risk, for no matter what I say he may still find it in him to forgive If not, well, my sword still waits outside I can t give it than two stars There were times when I wanted to throw it into the woodstove, but didn t because there are several paragraphs I want to study closely. I got about half way through this book and I just couldn t finish it It is not at all how I picture the character of Catullus after reading his poetry Also, I found the writing very disorganized and disjointed. .Download E-pub ☦ The Key ♨ The First Volume Of A Dazzling Trilogy, The Key Shows A World On The Verge Of Collapse Through The Eyes Of Its Greatest And Most Passionate Poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, The Boy From The Provinces Who Became The Lover Of The Most Powerful And Beautiful Married Woman In Rome, Is Dead At Twenty Nine His Friend Marcus Caelius Rufus Must Search For The Meaning Of His Life In The Slums And Bloody Secret Cults, The Palaces And Law Courts Of The Tottering Roman Republic Vivid, Exciting, Carefully Researched And Beautifully Written, The Key Has Been A Cult Favorite In Hardbound For Years