By A. S. Byatt
From the award-winning writer of Possession comes an inventive novel approximately love and literary sleuthing: a stunning fiction woven out of 1 man’s look for fact.
Here is the tale of Phineas G. Nanson, a dissatisfied graduate scholar who makes a decision to flee the realm of postmodern literary conception and immerse himself within the messiness of “real lifestyles” via writing a biography of an excellent biographer. In a chain of adventures which are by means of turns highbrow and comedian, clinical and sensual, Phineas tracks his topic to the deserts of Africa and the maelstrom of the Arctic. alongside the way in which he involves depend on girls, certainly one of whom could be the consultant he wishes out of the dizzying labyrinth of his examine and again into his personal lifestyles. A tantalizing yarn of detection and hope, The Biographer’s Tale is a provocative examine “truth” in biography and our perennial quest for walk in the park.
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Additional resources for The Biographer's Tale: A Novel
On each one re-reading I transferred extra of my consciousness from the myriad-minded Bole to his discreet historian. It used to be a shock that Bole knew the morphology of Mediterranean solitary bees, the ordinary motifs of Turkish fairy stories, the deficiencies of the supply-lines of the British military. It used to be, looking back, much more of a shock that Scholes Destry-Scholes knew all that Bole knew, had tracked down his resources and corrected his blunders, the place useful (they have been frequent). not just that, Scholes Destry-Scholes was once in a position to fulfill the reader’s (that is, my) interest in that he knew extra of Bole’s topics than Bole did, or may well. He had the advantage of Paul Underwood’s exemplary revelations on the Church of the Chora. He had learn the key army telegrams—including these approximately Bole’s activities—which Bole had no entry to. it's real that the strength, the power, the 1st fierce gaze of wish, the 1st effective uncovering or acquisition have been Bole’s. He was once a loose agent, Destry-Scholes in his footsteps. (I stumbled on myself in my wilder moments of bare abandon chanting “King Wenceslas” to myself on sizzling summer time evenings, a can of beer in a single hand, The Voyager within the different. “Mark my footsteps, strong my web page, Tread thou in them boldly. Thou shalt locate the winter’s rage, Freeze thy blood much less coldly. ”) Destry-Scholes’s paintings was once a miracle of metamorphosis. Bole was once continually Bole. Even his Burtonian models of seventeenth-century Turkish had a Bolean ring, in an effort to communicate. yet Destry-Scholes used to be sophisticated. He may possibly write like a gourmand of faience, like a brisk strategic analyst, like John Addington Symonds or maybe like George Eliot, the place it was once appropriate—some of his debts of Evangeline’s attitudes to Bole’s curious mystical ideals can have pop out of Daniel Deronda. He may well write, as i've got steered, like an exceptional literary critic, stating salient phrases and echoes of alternative texts. He may perhaps describe alien cultures in a supremely tactful and exciting paragraph—his personal account of the Turkish hamam, the bathhouse, isn't really, so far as i will determine, derived from Bole, yet from different resources, or from own wisdom. Or from own wisdom. This faceless author built this edifice of kinds, of evidence, or even wrote within the first individual the place it looked as if it would him acceptable to take action. occasionally it appeared as if he proposal he was once doing journeyman-work, creating a checklist, easily. occasionally there looked to be a glimpse of delight in his personal mastery, his artwork, you could even say. I had a imaginative and prescient of him sitting over a table in lamplight, deftly twisting a Rubik’s dice into form. Or, in a extra advanced imaginative and prescient, deciding on the tesserae—blue, eco-friendly, ivory, white glass, gold and silver, laying them at diverse angles on their mattress of color to mirror the sunshine in several methods. The undertaking could have come to me in a dream. i'm really not being fanciful, easily special. I woke one morning and suggestion, “It will be attention-grabbing to determine approximately Scholes Destry-Scholes. ” I had a obscure reminiscence of a dream of pursuit via dappled eco-friendly and gold underwater caverns.