The Biographer's Tale (Paperback)
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Short Description for The Biographer's Tale Fed up with stultifying criticism, Phineas decides to study the messiness of 'real life'. Doing nothing by halves, he sets out to write a biography of a great biographer. But a 'whole life' is hard to find. How do we put the idea of a person together? Everywhere he looks, he finds fragments and gaps. Trails run cold and mysteries are unresolved.
- Published: 28 August 2001
- Format: Paperback 272 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780099283935 ISBN 10: 009928393X
- Sales rank: 281,528
Full description for The Biographer's Tale
In this witty, Borges-like Novel, A. S. Byatt weaves a dazzling fiction out of one man's search for fact. Fed up with stultifying criticism, Phineas G. decides to study the messiness of 'real life'. Doing nothing by halves he sets out to write a biography of a great biographer. But a 'whole life' is hard to find. How do we put the idea of a person together? Everywhere he looks he finds fragments and gaps: disconnected typescripts, bones and husks, boxes of marbles, collections of photographs. Trails run cold and mysteries are unresolved.Phineas feels he is hunting shadows. Like a shaman flying across the globe, his mind tracks the journeys of his subjects to the deserts of Africa and the maelstroms of the Arctic, where the shapes of myth meet the patterns of science. He meets others building wholes from bits and pieces: taxonomists, ecologists, even travel agents offering the trip of your dreams. In the process he also puzzles out his own future - but which woman will guide him out of the labyrinth? Tantalising, comic and rueful, The Biographer's Tale is a modern delight, a colour-filled novel of detection and desire.