Friday, February 24, 2012

Cleopatra: A Life

I've lately become interested in many different genres, including historical fiction and non-fiction. So when I came across Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff, I knew I had to give it a good reading.

In an effort to shed light on a life told and re-told a million times over, Cleopatra tells of Queen Cleopatra VII, beginning when she was merely a teen smuggling herself into Caesar's camp in a rug. While the author seems to think that Cleopatra has a story that should be told all on its own, without the omnipresent screen of sexuality, I found that telling Cleopatra's story, at least in this novel, was impossible without heavy leanings on the lives of both Caesar and Mark Antony.

Cleopatra came across as a smart, pragmatic queen of a wealthy, powerful and colorful kingdom, but I felt that often times the narration would meander off toward Caesar and his life, and later into Mark Antony's. No doubt these men had a huge impact in her own life story, but the narration seemed less focused on them together and more on just the men.

In all, I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars: fascinating and insightful, but I felt I should have known Cleopatra better once I finished this historical biography.

No comments: