The Blue Flower and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading The Blue Flower on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Blue Flower [Paperback]

Penelope Fitzgerald , Candia McWilliam
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
Price: £7.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 26 Oct.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Book Description

7 Nov 2013

From the Booker Prize-winning author of ‘Offshore’ comes this unusual romance between the poet Novalis and his fiancée Sophie, newly introduced by Candia McWilliam.

The year is 1794 and Fritz, passionate, idealistic and brilliant, is seeking his father’s permission to announce his engagement to his heart’s desire: twelve-year-old Sophie. His astounded family and friends are amused and disturbed by his betrothal. What can he be thinking?

Tracing the dramatic early years of the young German who was to become the great romantic poet and philosopher Novalis, ‘The Blue Flower’ is a masterpiece of invention, evoking the past with a reality that we can almost feel.


Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Between 20-26 October 2014, spend £10 in a single order on item(s) dispatched from and sold by Amazon.co.uk and receive a £2 promotional code to spend in the Amazon Appstore. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)

Frequently Bought Together

The Blue Flower + Offshore + The Bookshop
Price For All Three: £19.97

Buy the selected items together
  • Offshore £6.39
  • The Bookshop £6.39


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New Ed edition (7 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006550193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006550198
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most elegant and distinctive voices in British fiction. Three of her novels, The Bookshop, The Beginning of Spring and The Gate of Angels have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She won the Prize in 1979 for Offshore. Her last novel, The Blue Flower, was the most admired novel of 1995, chosen no fewer than nineteen times in the press as the 'Book of the Year'. It won America's National Book Critics' Circle Award.
She died in April 2000, at the age of eighty three.

Product Description

Review

‘The Blue Flower is a model of what historical fiction can be at its best – when the radical otherness of other times is not merely acknowledged but made integral to the fictional experience. It's also Fitzgerald at her best – elegant, inventive, hilarious, unsparing. I adore this book.’ Jonathan Franzen

‘Reading a Penelope Fitzgerald novel is like being taken for a ride in a peculiar kind of car. Everything is of top quality – the engine, the coachwork and the interior all fill you with confidence. Then, after a mile or so, someone throws the steering-wheel out of the window.’ Sebastian Faulks

‘Wise and ironic, funny and humane, Fitzgerald is a wonderful, wonderful writer.’ David Nicholls

‘An enchanting novel about heart, body and mind. The writing is ellipitical and witty… so that what could be a sad little love story is constantly funny and always absorbing. This novel is a jewel.’ Carmen Callil, Daily Telegraph

‘Her sense of time and place is marvellously deft, done in a few words. She knows how they all walked, eased their old joints. She knows the damp smell of decay of the ancient schlosses. In a bare little book she reveals a country and an age as lost as Tolstoy’s Russia and which we seem somehow always to have known.’ Jane Gardam, Spectator

‘Detail, expertly dabbed in, provides a substantial background for the story of a poet which, it is subtly suggested, is also the story of a remarkable moment in the history of civilisation… It is hard to see how the hopes and defeats of Romanticism, or the relation between inspiration and common life, between genius and mere worthiness, could be more deftly rendered than they are in this remarkable novel.’ Frank Kermode, LRB

From the Publisher

Winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award
From the reviews of The Blue Flower "The Blue Flower is an enchanting novel about heart, body and mind. The writing is elliptical and witty... so that what could be a sad little love story is constantly funny and always absorbing with a cast of characters both endearing and amusing. This novel is a jewel." Carmen Callil, Daily Telegraph

"Her sense of time and place is marvellously deft, done in a few words. She knows how they all walked, eased their old joints. She knows the damp smell of decay of the ancient schlosses. In a bare little book she reveals a country and an age as lost as Tolstoy's Russia and which we seem somehow always to have known." Jane Gardam, Spectator

"Detail, expertly dabbed in, provides a substantial background for the story of a poet which, it is subtly suggested, is also the story of a remarkable moment in the history of civilisation... It is hard to see how the hopes and defeats of Romanticism, or the relation between inspiration and common life, between genius and mere worthiness, could be more deftly rendered than they are in this admirable novel." Frank Kermode, London Review of Books

"A minor miracle of sympathy and crispness." Adam Mars-Jones, Guardian

"An extraordinary imagining...an original masterpiece." Hermione Lee, Financial Times

"A novel in which the unsaid speaks; it is a masterpiece." Candia McWilliam

"A masterpiece. How does she do it?" A.S. Byatt

"A magical little book." Doris Lessing

"Her limpid, exact prose reflects an unwaveringly clear view of the human predicament. She seems to be one of those rare artists gifted with both the knowledge of how things are, and the skill to record what she knows with s ubtlety and devestating truthfulness." A.N. Wilson, Evening Standard


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BLUE FLOWER: SUPERB 30 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read somewhere that this book was singled out by many on Booker Prize panels as one that got away. It shouldn't have.
The story is a fictionalized account of the romantic poet Novalis's (Friedrich von Hardenberg) early life. Set in Goethe's time, Friedrich is on the move between towns and opinions, a string of temporary moments which eventually hang together to delineate a young life. By this means he constructs a view of the world. It is also a quite beautiful love story. I wont give anything away, but suffice to say that knowing it is based on true lives increase its poignancy.

The sense of place and the realisation of her characters are extraordinary in that it's done by sleight of hand - it's magic. A few sentences and we have a complete sense about a person. Fitzgerald's economy must leave even the most experienced writers envious.

The writing is good, but it's the kind of writing which takes a while to seep in. She assembles words together, as one might gather clouds: suddenly one sees shape or rhythm, or senses hope and despair. Then they are gone again. But her workings seem invisible - the reader just goes along for the ride. Only when I put the book down, did I see how invisibly she had got me there.

Penelope Fitzgerald is a magician - not in a fantastical way, not by way of extraordinary imagination either, but by her arms-length directing and by the dainty writing which conjures out of old German soil a breathing geography and its people. Highly recommended.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
How does she do it? asks A S Byatt in her review of this delightful work. Well, I for one don't know. Somehow Penelope Fitzgerald managed to take simple stories and deliver them so elegantly and intelligently, and with such unpretentious facility, that the reader becomes enchanted and captivated. These are the qualities of a modern day Jane Austen. In this concise historical novel she fictionalises the early life of the brilliant Friedrich von Hardenberg - before he becomes the renowned German Romantic poet/philosopher Novalis - and his inexplicable love for a rather silly twelve year old girl. It is a tale of deep and sincere love somehow portrayed without any sex scenes, without even a single kiss or description of physical contact. What novelist today could achieve that?
Unlike the novels of A S Byatt, for example, where the historical details are voluminous, in the Blue Flower they are present but unobtrusive and the reader effortlessly finds him/herself transported to eighteenth-century Saxony. This novel was selected as the `Book of the Year' more often that any other in 1995, including by A S Byatt herself and Doris Lessing; praise indeed. Sadly, Penelope Fitzgerald died in 2000, five years after its publication. I can safely recommend this book to anyone, whether they are literary minded or prefer populist works.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This has been my first Fitzgerald novel and the story's topic intrigued me more than anything else. Novalis, Friedrich von Hardenberg's pen name, under which he became famous for his poetic and philosophical work at the end of the eighteenth century, has been a household name since high school. Yet, I knew little about the man himself or the early German Romantic writers and thinkers at that time. With THE BLUE FLOWER Fitzgerald has made an important contribution to the literature on Novalis by creating a vivid portrait of the young von Hardenberg as he lived through a decisive period of his personal life which also saw him imagine "the blue flower" that became the central symbol of Romanticism from then on. *)

Central to the novel as well as to the man himself was his dramatic falling in love, at the age of twenty two with a twelve year old girl, Sophie von Kühn. Von Hardenberg, was already then a brilliant student of many subjects ranging from mathematics to biology, from literature and philosophy. Sophie, on the other hand, was a precocious child, "of ordinary looks", without interest or promise in any of these fields. The unlikely match between the two, in terms of age difference, personalities and social status is expertly described by Fitzgerald and the different modes of the young man's romantic obsession evoked. Livening the intimate and detailed, yet detached observations of the omniscient narrator with frequent lively dialog between the young hero and different close family members and other associates on all sides connected to either of the young lovers, the author also conveys a realistic sense their wider social circles.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Probably overrated 11 April 2014
By Walter
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Some books are highly rated by critics because they tick the boxes which critics love: style, history, plotting... "The Blue Flower" demands rather more of the reader than it repays and flatters to deceive.
My own important "tick-box" is "Why should I care?" but Fitzgerald doesn't tick it. She fails to show the passionate or unique aspects of her characters, instead focussing on the stylish and polished world in which she sets them.
The book reminded me of French haute cuisine: very refined, extremely clever and well done, but ultimately unsatisfying.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed and did not find it very interesting at all
After reading rave reviews about this book, I was disappointed and did not find it very interesting at all, so I would not recommend it.
Published 3 days ago by wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book, fast delivery.
Published 1 month ago by Clare Shepherd
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed it overall
Strange book, off beat characters well drawn,enjoyed it overall.
Published 1 month ago by Liz Cable
3.0 out of 5 stars a worth while read
All the foreign names put me off, as I had to constantly refer back to check who was who, but the book was decidedly worth the effort
Published 2 months ago by C. Sidney-woollett
2.0 out of 5 stars and saying things like "If there's one book you have to read before...
Over the years I have heard or seen the occasional person RAVING about this book, and saying things like "If there's one book you have to read before you die, then this is... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Skylark
3.0 out of 5 stars hailed as her greatest, I found less engaging than her previous books
Distancing effect
This novel, hailed as her greatest, I found less engaging than her previous books. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Maggie BG
4.0 out of 5 stars good
quality product, good service
Published 2 months ago by mrs c morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrived in time and in good condition Contentwise a a three stars
Arrived in time and in good condition

Contentwise a a three stars. Even if well written it does not engage in a way expected by the ravings that generally are heeped... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jan Erik Ragnar Lundius
1.0 out of 5 stars Missed the point?
Maybe I missed the point of this novel but to me it read like a translation of an early 19th century work which was not easy to to get engrossed in. Read more
Published 4 months ago by judy
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This book is beautifully and sensitively written. From the first chapter Penelope Fitzgerald transports you into a different era. Read more
Published 4 months ago by fatty fat cow
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback