So much to say about this book. First I have not read the English translation but personally I think this work is impossible to translate in any other language. The mastery of French as writing material the way a composer masters music, combined with the beauty of it's use in this novel and finally the many levels of meaning make translation an impossible task. This one of the very few works that have been matured during the whole of an author's life and the sheer mastery of the result is humbling. And for those men who still think that women are not equal to man I dare you to read and understand any book by Yourcenar and keep thinking and saying this. I've read Memoirs of Hadrian when I was relatively young and that book has had a very deep influence over my whole life.