I'm a GoodReads user testing new waters after the serious website changes. I mostly read fiction, usually Anglophone classics/ modern classics; I like nonfiction (mostly social and cultural history), good fantasy and graphic novels. For guilty pleasure, I read advice and how-to books. I made at least two reading resolutions recently; 1. read less, live more; 2. read books which give me more pleasure. I have poor filters, and books I find stylistically pleasing tend to be depressing, so I need to do something about that; if you think you know a book that is very well written, but won't make me weep, please drop me a line.

The Quest for Corvo: An Experiment in Biography (New York Review Books Classics)

The Quest for Corvo: An Experiment in Biography (New York Review Books Classics) - A.J.A. Symons, A.S. Byatt Stranger, and better, than fiction: The Quest... might appear to be casually conceived (man reads book, man falls in love; man reads book's author's letters, man gets both fascinated and appalled; man decides to write author's biography) and casually written, but at least the latter is not true. Symons, who only takes shape as a character-writer at the very beginning and end of his book, ensures the pacing, timing, findings, sources, and even a mysterious benefactor appear at just the right moments in this seemingly nonchalantly crafted story to keep us interested. He also makes discreet, but masterly use of the fashionable modernist techniques; the amateur-detective fiction frame known from The Great Gatsby, for instance; fragmented and conflicting point of view; variety of voices.

The books works so fantastically well, in spite of its rather simple premise (find out as much as possible about author; write letters letters letters; reprint received letters letters letters), because of its peculiar subject. The tormented, multitalented, paranoid Frederick Rolfe, a man with an infallible and elaborate self-sabotage mechanism, makes my pet miserable author - [a:Jean Rhys|25022|Jean Rhys|] - look like a fully functional, successful person. Highly recommended.

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