Monday, September 28, 2015

Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life, by Hermione Lee

Hefty biography of the beloved Penelope Fitzgerald, whose eight compact novels she served up late in her life stand as the epitome of a certain preferred (by me) brand of 20th century British fiction.  The novels are pungent, concise, brilliant narratives that illustrate by ommission, irony and silence.

I'm thankful Lee spends so much time on each novel, sending me back to re-read each one with her inflated examination of the plots and characters, settings and sources.

If anything, Lee might inflate them too much-- she might take something away from the strength of the novels of themselves by explaining their silences.  But Lee is at least aware of this double-edged sword.

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