Vita Brevis, Floria Aemilia’s letters to Aurel Augustin
Sheer enjoyment from beginning to end — an outstanding paean of praise to life, but also a book that is full of both bitter and unrestrained irony
… a different and challenging novel … a courageous attempt to approach the philosophy and thought processes of late Antiquity, the cultural foundation of western society
In Buenos Aires the author comes across a bundle of letters written in Latin. They prove to be from Floria Aemilia to the father of the Christian Church, Aurelius Augustinus (St Augustine), in which she reminds him of their onetime love for each other, which he rejected in favour of a religious life. This is a love story from the fourth century, an erotic tragedy centred on celibacy and submission to God. But it may also be read as a story about the impact Augustine’s ideas were to have on the attitude to women of generations yet to come. The letters also constitute Floria’s critical comments on St Augustine’s Confessions, as they illuminate the philosophy and literature of late Antiquity.