WINNER OF THE 1973 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
By the Author of Stoner
In Augustus, his third great novel, John Williams took on an entirely new challenge, a historical narrative set in classical Rome, exploring the life of the founder of the Roman Empire. To tell the story, Williams turned to the epistolary novel, a genre that was new to him, transforming and transcending it just as he did the western in Butcher’s Crossing and the campus novel in Stoner. Augustus is the final triumph of a writer who has come to be recognized around the world as an American master.
Fiction, but a cut above
As I grow older, I am not usually drawn to fiction, but occasionally a book wins me over, and this is such a book. Based on the skeleton of the real Roman timeline, John Williams brings to life versions of the characters who played the parts in actual history. It is an epistolary novel that works, totally entertaining, informative and insightful. It works.
Best fiction about Augustus I've ever read.
In fact, best fiction about Roman history, well, just history, I've ever read. Mr. Williams makes us see through genuine human nature by displaying the life of one of the most renowned historic figure. The words are beautiful, heartwarming and honest.
...And I have to admit, I was quite shocked that an American wrote this.