In David Lodge's last novel, Thinks...the novelist Henry James was invisibly present in quotation and allusion. In Author, Author he is centre stage, sometimes literally. The story begins in December 1915, with the dying author surrounded by his relatives and servants, most of whom have private anxieties of their own, then loops back to the 1880s, to chart the course of Henry's 'middle years', focusing particularly on his friendship with the genial Punch artist and illustrator, George Du Maurier, and his intimate but chaste relationship with the American writer Constance Fenimore Woolson. By the end of the decade Henry is seriously worried by the failure of his books to 'sell', and decides to try and achieve fame and fortune as a playwright, at the same time that George Du Maurier, whose sight is failing, diversifies into writing novels. The consequences, for both men, are surprising, ironic, comic and tragic by turns, reaching a climax in the years 1894-5. As Du Maurier's Trilby, to the bewilderment of its author himself, becomes the bestseller of the century, Henry anxiously awaits the first night of his make-or-break play, Guy Domville ...Thronged with vividly drawn characters, some of them with famous names, others recovered from obscurity, Author, Author presents a fascinating panorama of literary and theatrical life in late Victorian England, which in many ways foreshadowed today's cultural mix of art, commerce and publicity.
But it is essentially a novel about authorship - about the obsessions, hopes, dreams, triumphs and disappointments, of those who live by the pen - with, at its centre, an exquisite characterisation of one writer, rendered with remarkable empathy.
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(242mm x 162mm x 35mm)
Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
In his latest work David Lodge writes about the process of writing and about the existence and definition of the author. Based on fact but remaining, nevertheless, fiction 'Author, Author' is a novel come fictionalized biography of the writer Henry James. Whilst James' later novels are widely known few readers are aware of the years he spent struggling to find success as a dramatist. Although now highly regarded, James' contemporaries viewed him as mediocre and much of his success has been posthumous. Lodge takes this posthumous success as his starting point by opening the novel with James on his deathbed and asking the reader 'what if?' before rewinding to the beginning of James' writing career. Through 'Author, Author' Lodge uses James' life and his authorial struggles as a vessel for exploring what it means to write, the effects of success and failure and the fickle nature of popularity. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - David Lodge
David Lodge's novels include Changing Places (Hawthornden Prize), How Far Can You Go? (Whitbread Book of the Year), Small World ( Booker shortlisted), Nice Work (Sunday Express Book of the Year) and A Man of Parts. He has also written books of literary criticism, including The Art of Fiction. His works have been translated into 25 languages. He is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Birmingham and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, was awarded a CBE and is also a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.