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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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From this unpromising material Ms Lee has produced a wonderful biography.
By assiduous research.
By having a deep interest in her subject.
By employing her undoubted intelligence.
Most of all, by a brilliant writing style.
I loved it. Yes, I skipped some of the analyses of the novels, and I found the parts on her father and uncles even more interesting than the bulk of the book. But I was sorry when I got to the end.....and it's a long book.
I recommend the book very warmly.
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