The Biographer's Tale

The Biographer's Tale

Book - 2001
Average Rating:
1
Rate this:
From the award-winning author ofPossessionandAngels and Insectscomes an ingenious new novel about love and literary sleuthing: a dazzling fiction woven out of one man's search for fact. It tells the story of Phineas G. Nanson, a disenchanted young graduate student who decides to escape the world of postmodern literary theory and immerse himself in the messiness of "real life" by writing a biography of a great biographer. For what could be more real than biography, the "art of things, of arranged facts"? But Phineas quickly discovers that facts can be unreliable, and a "whole life" hard to find. No matter how hard he tries, he unearths only fragments--disconnected manuscripts, bones and husks, strands of poetry, boxes of marbles, undated photographs. How does one put together the idea of a person? Phineas tracks his subjects' journeys to the deserts of Africa and the maelstroms of the Arctic in a series of adventures that are by turns intellectual and comic, scientific and erotic. He meets others who are building wholes from bits and pieces: a beautiful radiographer, ecologists, anthropologists, even travel agents offering the trip of your dreams. But they seem only to make his task more difficult. And as he tries to sort through the cabinet of curiosities that is the past, he must also decide his own future, and face the most difficult puzzle of all: which woman will guide him out of this dizzying labyrinth and back into his own life? WithThe Biographer's Tale, A. S. Byatt--hailed by theNew York Times Book Reviewas "a storyteller who could keep a sultan on the edge of his throne for 1,001 nights"--asks provocative questions about our perennial quest for certainty, about "truth" in biography, about the nature of the imagination and the meaning of meaning, even as she spins a tantalizing yarn of detection and desire.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2001, c2000
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780375411144
0375411143
Characteristics: 305 p. : ill., ports. ; 22 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

k
kmoyer
Jan 15, 2012

Not my favourite of Byatt’s novels & struggled a few times to keep reading but, as always, her tales are complex and well considered so I certainly found parts of it extremely interesting, thought-provoking (such as the role of the biographer). Can’t help but think the title has some connection with Chaucer’s Canterbury Tale though not really sure how etc.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at WCLS

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top