One of his top ten historical novels, as told to the Guardian:
The Blue Flower by Penelope FitzgeraldRead about another novel on the list.
Fitzgerald was one of the finest British novelists of the last 50 years. The Blue Flower – the story of the young German Romantic poet Novalis and his love for the even younger Sophie Von Kuhn – was her last novel. Nothing much happens; nothing much needs to. Fitzgerald leaves her characters to live and breathe, to clump about in their uncomfortable rooms and say wise, witty things to each other. There is something beautiful and generous in the way she holds them all. A conjuring trick of a book. Impeccable.
The Blue Flower is one of Diana Quick's six best books, Sebastian Faulks' forty recommended books, and appears on Kate Blackwell's list of five books distinguished by sheer originality of language and unique vision. It was one of my favorite two books of 1995.