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Creation by Gore Vidal
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Creation (1981)

by Gore Vidal

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,010None8,427 (3.9)42
  1. 40
    I, Claudius by Robert Graves (bookfitz)
  2. 20
    Julian by Gore Vidal (bookfitz)
    bookfitz: Another historical novel set in the ancient world written with the author's same wit.
  3. 00
    Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (mcenroeucsb)
  4. 00
    The Examination (Sunburst Book) by Malcolm Bosse (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Historical fiction journeys
  5. 00
    The Journeyer by Gary Jennings (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Historical fiction journeys
  6. 00
    Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Historical fiction journeys
  7. 00
    The Egyptian by Mika Waltari (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Historical fiction journeys
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» See also 42 mentions

English (13)  Spanish (2)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
This is a thick book, and it is largely about religion. Many will not read past this point, either of the review or the novel. But this is an area were many escapist readers feel uncomfortable. And religious fundamentalists have trouble dealing with the shared tenets of the major faiths. But Mr. Vidal is not a fundamentalist, but a humanist and his take on the divided world with shared truths is quite a nice way to spend a week of reading time. It's worth the effort, even though the body count is low. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Mar 5, 2014 |
This is one of the most amazing pieces of work I have ever read; Vidal was a master at his craft, no doubt about it. The detailed history is written in a most engaging manner, not dull and dry but full of palace intrigue and fighting wars and interviews with characters (historical people) from all sorts of walks of life. I learned a ton, things that would otherwise most assuredly never be retained in my mind, and enjoyed every moment of it. Not to be missed. ( )
  PolymathicMonkey | Dec 1, 2013 |
I had to read this for school. It has its moments but overall its very long and not worth it. ( )
  wweisser | Jul 6, 2013 |
Awesome historical insights form the Greek world from the point of view of the Persians. ( )
  Drakhir | Apr 3, 2013 |
The late Gore Vidal had a penchant for upending history, with his retellings of Burr, Lincoln, the Emperor Julian, and Roosevelt. Here, he has an irresistible setting - the memoirs and recollections of a Persian diplomat who is fed up with listening to Herodotus boast about an imagined victory (barbarians!), and retells his life to his son. He has met, and hobnobbed with, Zoroaster, Anaximander, Pericles, Socrates, the Buddha, Confucius, Xerxes, Darius, and Lao Tsi.

All of these figures (with the exception of Zoroaster) did live within roughly the same time frame, the 5th century b.c. The setting alone, and the luxurious descriptions thereof, are a traveler's and historian's dream.

Of course, our narrator is a diplomat after all. So in between the descriptions are some universal truths about politics in human nature - that is, it's a whole bunch of assholes trying to fuck each other.

In contrast to this, the narrator makes a point to search for Truth. He is a dualist, believing in the struggle between good and evil, and seeks to find Truth wherever he goes. This his earnest questions of prophets and sages abroad.

The history and setting alone make this worth a good look. The political descriptions are especially tedious (!) but the rest is worth reading. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gore Vidalprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burgess, AnthonyForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthieussent, BriceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Panske, GünterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peralta, CarlosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tummolini, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I am blind. But I am not deaf.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375727051, Paperback)

In 445 B.C., Cyrus Spitama, the grandson of the prophet Zoroaster, is the Persian ambassador to the city of Athens. He has a rather caustic appreciation of his situation: "I am blind. But I am not deaf. Because of the incompleteness of my misfortune, I was obliged yesterday to listen for nearly six hours to a self-styled historian whose account of what the Athenians like to call 'the Persian Wars' was nonsense of a sort that were I less old and more privileged, I would have risen to my seat at the Odeon and scandalized all Athens by answering him." Having thus dismissed Herodotus, Cyrus then dictates his life story to his nephew, Democritus, with similar disdain for the Greeks--whom we in the modern world have come to view as the progenitors of civilization, but whom Cyrus considers to be bad-smelling rabble.

Of course, Cyrus Spitama speaks with a very modern, ironic voice supplied to him by Gore Vidal--and the political intrigues in which Cyrus finds himself immersed are likewise familiar territory for fans of Vidal's historical fiction. But the narrator's delightfully wicked observations are the icing on a narrative of truly epic scope--out of his desire to understand the origins of the world, Cyrus undertakes journeys to India, where he encounters disciples of the Buddha, and China, where he engages Confucius in philosophical conversation while the great sage fishes by the riverside. Creation offers insights into classical history laced with scintillating wit and narrative brio.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:06 -0400)

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Cyrus, a fifth century Persian, relates the story of his travels and encounters as an ambassador.

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