A God Strolling In The Cool Of The Evening ($26.95; Oct.; 265 pp.; 0-8071-2235-1): Winner of the 1996 Pegasus Prize for Literature, this novel, set in late-imperial Rome (second century a.d.), is its Portuguese author's first to appear in English. The narrator, Lucius Valerius Quincius, a former prefect of the city of Tarcisis, offers in his memoirs a bemused and ironical account of his culture's self-absorbed inability to foresee the effects of Moorish invasions and dawning Christianity. De Carvalho graciously acknowledges the influence of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations (Lucius is their devoted admirer) in an entertaining and informative fiction similar to, and not unworthy of comparison with, Robert Graves's I, Claudius and Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian.
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