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Winner of the 2014 James Tait Black Prize for Fiction
The acclaimed biographer of Edith Wharton and Virginia Woolf gives us a vivid, intimate, and critically acute portrait of one of the finest and most understated novelists of the twentieth century.
Penelope Fitzgerald was a great English writer-many say the greatest in recent years-whose career didn't begin until she was nearly sixty. Her life moved from a Bishop's Palace to a sinking barge, from a life of teaching and obscurity to a blaze of renown. Her novels are short, spare masterpieces: subtle and intensely evocative. The early works draw on Fitzgerald's own experiences-working at the BBC in wartime; at a failing bookshop in Suffolk; at an eccentric stage school-while her later books open out into historical worlds that, magically, she seems to entirely possess. Despite the late start of her career, Fitzgerald's books won some of the most coveted awards in literature: the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Hers is a story of lateness, persistence, and redemption. Now, Hermione Lee, a master biographer and one of Fitzgerald's greatest champions, gives us this remarkable author's unforgettable story.