Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life Hardcover – 7 Nov 2013
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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)
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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
AM ANGRY - DID NOT ORDER THIS. CLICKED ON SAMPLE AND ENDED UP HAVING TO PAY FOR SOMETHING I DON'T WANT AND CAN'T AFFORD. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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 6 months 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 6 months ago by Leonie Potter
A really well researched & meticulously detailed account of the life & work of this interesting author. Read morePublished 8 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 9 months ago by Suzanne
Detailed and fascinating book. Very thoroughly researched by Hermione Lee.Published 10 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 10 months ago by AnnaLivia