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Remembering Hypatia: A Novel of Ancient Egypt Paperback – February 23, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A really interesting novel, based in great detail on what happened during the 5th Century. It's really quite a story. -- Faith Middleton on NPR's The Faith Middleton Show

A riveting character study and a haunting vision of an enlightened society on the brink of the Dark Ages. -- Yale Bookstore Author Series

An absolutely wonderful historical fiction novel with an almost lyrical rhythm to the writing. Hypatia and her contemporaries are captivating. -- Writer's Digest (13th Annual Self-Published Book Awards)

About the Author

BRIAN TRENT is a nationally-published journalist, essayist, and novelist. He resides in Connecticut.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (February 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595342523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595342525
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #736,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've just finished reading this book for the second time through and I recommend it without reservation. Hypatia is a woman forgotten by history. She was the leading intellectual of Egypt under Roman rule, in the waning days of empire.

The author's descriptive powers and wordcraft are magical. This time period came alive for me, the eccentric city of Alexandria and all the many cultures living there. Often historical novels can read dryly, but Remembering Hypatia painlessly injected a lot of historical detail into the story without being overbearing. It reads as easily as a beautiful poem. Entire scenes are permanently burned on my imagination...and the characters, even the minor ones like servants or city officials, feel like parts of my life now. They are alive on the page.

The story itself does not let go of the reader. This is an amazing window on a time period that's hardly ever been written about, and it is so completely convincing in its execution. Everything feels entirely real; I've never seen the ancient world painted with such ease and strength of detail. And the emotional impact lingers for days.

Remembering Hypatia is a must-read beyond doubt, absolutely haunting and beautiful.
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Format: Paperback
A long forgotten woman named Hypatia lived in Egypt, not at the time of the pharaohs, but much later, under Roman occupation, when education and learning were at a high point, and the "cultured" city of Alexandria was as much a melting pot as the major cities in America today. The story of Hypatia is as heart breaking as it is informative. Brian Trent's beautifully woven tapestry of events, based on the TRUE story, is one that will certainly be remembered.

Remembering Hypatia is an exciting and shocking piece of historical fiction. Comprehensively researched, this novel tells the story of Hypatia, the woman astronomer, mathematician and philosopher who was head of the Great Library in Alexandria, Egypt in 414 A.D.. It tells of her passion and her assassination. It contains polarities in religious and political/educational thinking, which are hauntingly similar to what we see in the United States and the world today.

Insightfully written, the book is captivating, moving from scene to scene like a motion picture. It excites the reader about education and knowledge, edifies with various historical facts, challenges belief systems, (steams up the room in a few unexpected brief scenes), and completely startles one with the similarity to today's society and its growing schism between differing political and religious views. One side breathes total intolerance, while the other side struggles to tolerate those who would have them killed.

Among the many events that run concurrently are the treatment of women and the persecution of the Jews. Hypatia rose through the ranks in a "man's world" and became highly esteemed during a time when most women still had only domestic roles.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book last fall with "Hypatia of Alexandria" by Maria Dzielska
and have been recommending it ever since not just because of the author's
power as a story-teller, or its attention to details but because of the
skill in bringing these characters to life. Thasos, Orestes, Hypatia, Cyril,
and the whole cast are skillfully portrayed and believable. This is a
magnificent debut with a message as strong as its delivery and is in the top
three books I read last year.

I want to thank the below reviewer for inspiring me to finally post an
amazon review. Not only were chariots in use in this time period, but in
Dzielska's excellent study of Hypatia's life she writes: "Hypatia was
returning home... she was pulled out of the chariot and dragged to the
church Caesarion." (Page 93) Its also worth saying that the Nile river
breaks into many fingers and canals before connecting to the sea and some of
these are visible from Alexandria's west, south, and east. And the
necropolis scene when Thasos' mother visits her husband's tomb is powerfully
portrayed with a lyrical beauty and insight into the personality of a broken
woman, and the little details, like the Burial houses where the dead sleep,
the incense hangers, the iron key for the many gates. There was a special
History/Discover show on a recent dig into a necropolis in Alexandria, and
maybe the author saw it or maybe he's visited excavation sites, but his
description was perfect and put me into her sandals as she went deeper into
this unique burial site.

In fact its all the attention to the particulars of Hypatia's time that I
cherished and makes Remembering Hypatia a book to read and re-read.
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Format: Paperback
The story of the genius, beauty, and boldness of Hypatia forms the basis for this excellently written novel. Hypatia's death is high tragedy, not just because of the loss of this brilliant and forgotten woman, but for all the tragedy that is to follow...the world of Hellenized Egypt is so enchantingly painted in Remembering Hypatia that its fall delivers a knockout emotional blow.

Alexandria was one of the first great melting pots in history, the common ground for a multiplicity of races, religions, and ideas. The Great Library is lovingly re-created as well...it becomes a vivid set piece for the players in this drama. The very evident passion and talent of author Trent is that, just like the many faces of Alexandria, he tackles several diverse points: Rational "classic" argument versus blind superstition, Academic elitism and punditry (as detailed in a very entertaining chapter on Hypatia's education
abroad in Athens), and Reason and Emotion, in conflict and in concert.

Trent doesn't pull many punches (though I thought he softened the blow against the average citizen's apathy, which is IMO, every bit as responsible for murders like Hypatia's as the "saint" who actually ordered it). Hypatia is described as a "female Achilles" and her wit, realism, and devotion to her principles makes her a tremendous personality. No less interesting is governor Orestes, whos like a caged tiger, and his relationship with his wife is a real powder keg. The journey of young Thasos is also the
perfectly believable and enjoyable guide into this world, and his own deteriorating
relationship with his mother Demtria forms the third dimension to the tragedy.

The bottom line? A beautiful and affecting novel which stimulates reflection
on the greatest historical tragedy you never heard of.
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