©1934, 1961 Robert Graves; (P)1987 Recorded Books
This novel written in 1935 is set as the autobiography of Claudius, before he becomes Roman emperor and as he sees the various members of his family die off, mainly through mischief.
It is not particularly well written. How for example can Claudius report word for word conversations that were held hundreds of kilometers away?
Also, the characters’ psychology is poorly developed and inconsistent. Why for instance would Lydia suddenly decide to confide her wrongdoings to Claudius whom she has always despised?
Though not graphic by today’s standards, violence is so pervasive throughout the work that it becomes tedious.
To potential readers interested in an analogous approach to Roman Antiquity, Marguerite Yourcenar’s ‘Memoirs of Hadrian’ constitutes a far superior option.
I listen to a lot of everything. I really enjoy fiction, but also business books, self-improvement and lectures.
The narrator is superb! It feels like you are listening to a good friend's gossip. Informative, easy to listen to and comical.
I was a big fan of the I Claudius mini-series and so wanted to hear the original book. The book is Claudius' first person account of his life so it loses much of the characterisation of the series. All of the scenes are here, they just have more life in the drama.
The reader is excellent and gets the tone spot on.
I, Claudius is probably the best work of historical fiction I have read yet.
Watching the various threads of conspiracy and coincidence leading up to inevitable tragedy is both exciting and poignant.
Nelson Runger does a great job of reflecting the sometimes bitter, sometimes wryly humourous style of "Claudius", with an engaging tone that is easy to listen to.
Three emperors' worth of intrigue and infamy!
An academic who listens to novels on runs and commutes to campus.
This is an amusing tale, which seeks to outline how Claudius became the unlikely emperor of Rome. Filled with multiple marriages, murders, and general mayhem, Graves engages the reader with the auto-biography of Claudius, who serves as both narrator and commentator of the events in the empire. The story drags initially as Claudius outlines his family history, especially how his grandmother became the wife of Augustus; however, once Claudius comes of an age where he and his brother, Germanicus, are actors in the realm, the story picks up dramatically. Of particular note is a wonderful scene between Claudius, a budding historian, and Livy and Polius (?) about what makes an engaging history. As one of the classics of 20th century literature, this text should be atop the list of most persons, especially those who enjoy witty and lively discussion about the interaction of politics, history, fate, and ambition.
Much more entertaining than I thought it would be going in--I mean, I should have known, right? Political intrigue, murder, forced suicide, voluntary suicide, torture, poison, banishment, war...those ancient Roman emperors kept themselves busy! I liked hearing the story from Claudius' point of view--I found him very likable, and the narration for the audiobook was great (other than a couple brief moments when he slipped into what sounded suspiciously like a Southern drawl). I assumed going in that, though I was interested enough to read this first book in the series, I wouldn't want to continue with it. But...I'm definitely considering it!
A real Roman soap opera! It was a good time to listen to all that scandalous drama, but it did get difficult to follow the characters names. Some parts were boring but most was exciting. Great performance reading, fit the story nicely.
So far ago, so up to date
Animal Farm by George Orwell, because it talks about the human nature and the longing for power
The final unexpected triumph of Claudius, the permanent outsider
A peculiar but constructive reading
It completely convinced me. Took me right into Ancient Rome.
It is rich in every meaning of the word. Complete. Diverse. Detailed. The world engulfs you totally.
Claudius, of course! Just you read the book!
And Lydia... vile but devoted...
The abundance of facts, names and lineages can overwhelm at times but it is well worth it!
The book smells of wine, sweat and steel, parchment and venom.
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