Vita Brevis, Paperback Book
2 out of 5 (1 rating)


A playful and inventive work from the bestselling author of SOPHIE'S WORLD.A box of Latin manuscripts comes to light in an Argentine flea market.

An apocryphal invention by some 17th or 18th century scolar, or a transcript of what it appears to be - a hitherto unheard of letter to St Augustine to a woman he renounced for chastity?

VITA BREVIS is both an entrancing human document and a fascinating insight into the life and philosophy of St.Augustine.

Gaarder's interpretation of Floria's letter is as playful, inventive and questioning as SOPHIE'S WORLD.


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Considering the many classical allusions in this work, it is fitting that the conceit — of assuming a female persona writing to her lover — should come from classical literature (Ovid's Heroides). That the conceit as used in Gaarder's book was so effective is clear from the number of readers who entertain the idea that the letter is genuine.This is a short work, so it obviously can't be expected to reach the same scope as Sophie's World or the Solitaire Mystery, but even so, it lacks the philosophical acumen of the former and the sheer creativity of the latter. I can give you the thrust of the letter in one sentence: life is short, so you should enjoy it while you can. Aside from perhaps a few choice moments, I don't think you'll get much more out of this book than out of that sentence. You're welcome to try, but then perhaps life is too short?