- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (6 Nov. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099546590
- ISBN-13: 978-0099546597
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.5 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life Paperback – 6 Nov 2014
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"Excellent... [Hermione] Lee is a perfect choice as Fitzgerald's biographer. She has done a superb job, capturing an elusive personality and a complex, sometimes rather harrowing story." (Philip Hensher Guardian)
"Lee elucidates the depth of [Fitzgerald's] achievement, and ties it enthrallingly to a life and personality more complex and difficult than anyone imagined. In a perfect literary biography, Lee plumbs the creative mind beneath that persona, tracing the metamorphosis of messy experience into crystalline art." (Financial Times)
"Brilliant and passionate...a haunting tale of blighted hope, personal tragedy and rare, late fulfilment. Thanks to this sympathetic biography, [Fitzgerald's] afterlife shows signs of becoming finally blessed with understanding, admiration and respect." (Robert McCrum Observer)
"Admirable and perceptive... Hermione Lee non-judgmentally excavates this extraordinary life. Her biography is very good indeed" (Susan Hill The Times)
"A worthy monument to one of the finest English novelists of the second half of the 20th century" (Jonathan Derbyshire Prospect)
"Adroitly executed and meticulously researched... insightful... Ms Lee's shrewd examination makes this a riveting biography" (Economist)
"Lee's absorbing biography is the story of a late starter... [She] is partisan in her project: she means to expose a truth she is certain of -- that Fitzgerald is "a great English writer". Her feat is to have woven an involving narrative out of such a skeletal life....Excellent...." (Nicholas Shakespeare Telegraph)
"This book will hold insights and treats for any admirer of [Fitzgerald's] fiction, and recruit converts to this reticent, witty, ferocious champion of the utterly downtrodden." (Emma Townshend Independent)
"Her book is in the very best tradition of critical literary biography. Phenomenally well researched and elegantly written, with a fine, dynamic fluency and lucid understanding, this is a very good biography indeed." (The Tablet)
"This elegant, richly researched biography tells a tale of misfortunes borne with dignity, humour and courage, and finally of quiet triumphs" (Michèle Roberts i)
"The literary biography of the year" (Philip Hensher Spectator)
"A perfect match of author and subject" (Leo Robson New Statesman)
"Lee’s book has had more influence on my reading than anything else this year" (John Lanchester Guardian)
"A compelling account of the life and work of Penelope Fitzgerald" (Mark Lawson Guardian)
"A masterly discussion of the work of that fine novelist and an illuminating account of the life of a complex and elusive person" (Penelope Lively Guardian)
Intimate, perceptive, critically acute, funny and moving, this is the first full biography of one of the finest English novelists of the last century.
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Top Customer Reviews
Penelope Fitzgerald was also an intensely reticent person. Lee has several times in the book caught Fitzgerald out fabricating, omitting, talking round something, or just plain lying. There is an intensely embarrassing (to me at any rate) incident where another writer, sharing a room with Fitzgerald on an official trip, accuses the elderly, cash-strapped novelist of pinching her tights! Which were allegedly then produced from Fitzgerald's own luggage, rather reluctantly. I felt very sorry for her, much of the time, and wondered how much she would have hated having these intensely personal details revealed.
Fitzgerald's fiction is all about people, and I think often very quietly makes the case for how difficult it really is to know another person.Read more ›
I recommend the book very warmly.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mrs Fitzgerald did not have a terribly eventful life, though it had its moments. She had interesting relations, but this book is not about them. Read morePublished 11 days ago by mr blue
Perhaps a bit too detailed, but nevertheless enjoyed this biography, which I got having (accidently) just listened to Fitzgeralds book Human Voices, brilliantly dramatised on BBC... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Leonie Potter
A really well researched & meticulously detailed account of the life & work of this interesting author. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Briar Rose
I had high hopes for this, after reading the professional reviews, but I found it tedious at times, and repetitive. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Suzanne
Detailed and fascinating book. Very thoroughly researched by Hermione Lee.Published 5 months ago by kiltie annie
A highly competent biography of an intriguing writer, written with very little authorial voice (always the sign of a good biographer). Read morePublished 5 months ago by AnnaLivia
Once I had read a chapter or two I couldn't put it down. The themes are of hard work and observation, and her ability to transform her own experiences into literature. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kindle Customer