Also By This Author
“A brilliant exercise in alternative literary history . . . Mr. Ransmayr’s book is all of a pieceintensely visualized, dense with magical images, and offering many obscure satisfactions.” The New York Times Book Review
The Last World
A Novel with an Ovidian Repertory
978-0-8021-3458-5 • $14.95 • Paperback • June 1996
The poet Ovid, in his distress over his banishment from Rome, consigns the manuscript of his masterpiece, Metamorphoses, to the flames; years later, when rumors of his death reach Rome, his youthful admirer Cotta follows him to the remote Black Sea port of Tomi. Out of this story Christoph Ransmayr has fashioned an astonishing novel about a journey of adventure that has become Europe’s most recent critical and best-selling literary sensation.
The Last World is the story of a quest. As Cotta, following a trail of clues Ovid has left behind, searches for the exiled poet and his lost work, he discovers in the rust-corroded town of Tomi an ominous scene suffused with and dominated by Ovidian mythology, a transformed place where the ancient world meets the twentieth century. Cotta is lured into a visionary landscape that impersonates Ovid’s vanished poem in which the familiar is forever transmuted in new and wondrous ways. In this world the village idiot turns to stone, the ravishingly beautiful whore disappears from the face of the earth, and the ropemaker takes on the guise of a wolf. These and other singular events furnish the pieces of a puzzle that Cotta assembles into a dramatic and bewitching story—a political and cultural fable about the end of time, the last world.
Already acclaimed as a modern masterpiece and currently being translated into thirty languages, The Last World is destined to become one of the most important novels of our time. Ransmayr writes with dazzling power and sensuously charged language about the endlessly shifting flow of time, the lusty cycle of life in which the carrion of the past forever gives birth to the new. A metaphysical thriller both compelling and profound, The Last World draws the reader into a universe governed by the power of mythology, a world of decay on the brink of apocalypse. A novel about exile, censorship, and the destruction of the planet—as well as its constant renewal—The Last World is a cultural and political fable that is blazingly topical, yet timeless.