In an urn, sealed in the wall of an ancient Central American tomb, the burial chamber of the Mayan king K'inich Yax K'uk'Mo, a mysterious manuscript has been found. The archaeologists who find it are perplexed. The scroll is in Latin, and it is older than the 1,600-year-old tomb itself. It is the 'Narrative of Questus,' a Roman who lived in the 1st century AD, during the rIn an urn, sealed in the wall of an ancient Central American tomb, the burial chamber of the Mayan king K'inich Yax K'uk'Mo, a mysterious manuscript has been found. The archaeologists who find it are perplexed. The scroll is in Latin, and it is older than the 1,600-year-old tomb itself. It is the 'Narrative of Questus,' a Roman who lived in the 1st century AD, during the reign of Augustus. According to Patrick O. Enfield, the scholar entrusted with the task of translating and commenting on this spectacular find, there can be no doubt of its authenticity. The manuscript is subjected to 'every available test and to detailed linguistic scrutiny.' It is not a hoax. Although the scroll is damaged, it can be read, and it draws a detailed picture of the childhood and youth of the author. Questus is 19, an aspiring inventor who would like to create marvelous new machines for the Imperial army. His father is a remote figure, a military commander who is usually away on campaign. His mother, however, is anything but remote. Still young and delightfully pretty, she is a favourite of the Emperor and also of the poet Ovid (as a child Questuscalled him 'Uncle Ovid'). Ovid's The Art of Love has just been published, and the young diarist and his friends scrutinize it for sexual secrets, hidden meanings and scandal. Slowly, Questus realizes that one of those secrets involves his own mother......
|Title||:||An Inexplicable Story, Or, the Narrative of Questus Firmus Siculus|
|Number of Pages||:||182 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
An Inexplicable Story, Or, the Narrative of Questus Firmus Siculus Reviews
A jar containing Roman writings is found in a tomb in Central America. They suggest that a Roman called Questus reached the Americas in the first century AD.There are also startling similarities between an excerpt from a lost play by Ovid in the newly found writings and a play by an obscure French playwright from the nineteenth century. The texts also hints as to why Ovid was exiled in the first place - was he knocking off the emperors wife?When the texts from the jar are published someone comes forward with another "roman" text found in the South Atlantic. It shows that Questus got almost to Antarctica in his (probably) steam ship. Again echoes of another tale by Jules Verne.Skvorecky hints and teases with mystery after mystery- and is obviously having fun with this book. For me it didn't quite work. This is a shame as I have read and enjoyed many other of his books.
I rather liked this loopy book by the great Czech expatriate Jospech Skvorecky which another Good Reads reviewer has already described as a pastiche. I only give it three stars so as to dissuade people who are unfamiliar with Skvorecky by starting with what in fact is a pastiche of monstrous proportions.Questus Firmus Siculus is structured like an edition of Petronius' incomplete masterpriece Satyricon that I read for a course during my first year at Victoria College (UofT). The narrator begins by explaining that fragments of a Latin manuscript have been found. Using his knowledge of Latin history and literature, the narrator promises that he will try to reconstruct the complete narrative.The hero is Questus Firms Siculus the son of mistress of Ovid (43 BC - 18 AD) and a talented inventor who creates a steam engine then sails off to America.The novel starts like a parody of Robert Graves' I, Claudius series based on Suetonius but in the second half goes off the deep-end. In the second half of the book our hero reaches the Antarctic ocean where he is connected to Arthur Gordon Pym ( who is a character in separate novels by written by Edgar Allen Poe and Jules Verne).The whole thing is like a skit from one of the undergraduate comedy revues that I saw at U of T. Having read Verne and Poe as a child and having studied Latin in secondary school, I found it funny. I am not sure who else would but if you are not sure look elsewhere in the Skvorecky catalogue which is filled with many better books.
That Czechoslovak-Canadian writer Josef Skvorecky's 2002 novelAn Inexplicable Story can best be described as a pastiche should not be taken as a slur on the book. Rather, it should be taken as great praise. I can't think offhand of any other writer who could so effectively meld such disparate topics as the reasons for Ovid's exile to Tomid and his fate there, the abortive scientific revolution of the early Roman Empire, Mesoamerican state formation Nazi German submarines' exploits in the Kerguelens, Edgar Allan Poe's 1838 novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and Jules Verne's 1897 Le Sphinx des glaces. Suffice it to say that, in An Inexplicable Story, Skvorecky managed to entirely rehabilitate the trope of the ancient hidden manuscript for the post-modern (or, perhaps rather, late modern) reader, disassociated fragments fused by scholarly conjecture in the context of a remarkably oddly globalized world. Ah, Tesalus.
This is Skvorecky's attempt at a Poe-like fantasy story mixed with historical fiction (what happened to Ovid?) He doesn't seem too invested in it, and I wasn't either, but it's very short and mildly interesting.
Very good read but almost too far-fetched.