Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Ten top fictional takes on real lives

Will Eaves’s Murmur and Alex Pheby’s Lucia are the joint winners of the 2019 Republic of Consciousness prize for small presses. At the Guardian they each tagged five fictional takes on real lives. One of Eaves’s picks:
The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald

The last, and arguably best, of Fitzgerald’s novels is a lattice of bright moments from the life of Fritz von Hardenburg (1772–1801), the romantic poet Novalis: the first view of the von Hardenburg household on washday; the fingers of a fellow student severed in a duel and kept warm in Fritz’s mouth; the moment of his heart’s surrender to 12-year-old Sophie von Kühn; the matter-of-fact end – consumption – that brushes all the characters aside. The frame holding these pieces together is a style, felt but unattributable, like a hand lodged suddenly and not quite reassuringly in the small of one’s back.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Blue Flower is one of the Telegraph's ten best historical novels, William Skidelsky's ten best historical novels, Andrew Miller's top ten historical novels, 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.

--Marshal Zeringue