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This is an auction for THE BIOGRAPHER'S TALE by A S Byatt.

"Byatt slyly explores the interface between the imagined and the factual, the felt and the reasoned, in this merrily satiric tale about a hesitant young man in search of a fuller life. Bored with his postmodern literary-criticism courses, the physically diminutive Phineas Gilbert Nanson seeks a more tangible subject in biography, diligently reading a recommended three-volume life of a little-known polymath written by a forgotten biographer named Scholes Destry-Scholes. So taken is Phineas with this magnum opus, he decides to become the biographer of a biographer. He devotes many hours to studying Destry-Scholes' inconclusive notes about three unidentified gentlemen, who gradually come into focus as the Swedish taxonomist Carl Linnaeus, the English scientist Sir Francis Galton, and the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, a trio Byatt uses brilliantly in an intriguing metaphysical inquiry into our mania for naming, categorizing, and ordering. Phineas then has the great good luck of meeting Destry-Scholes' niece, the lunar beauty Vera. He also takes a job at a very strange, possibly sinister travel agency and gets involved with a passionate bee taxonomist named Fulla, the blazing sun to Vera's silvery moon. As he realizes that biography is no more true than any other story, little Phineas evolves from a brittle boy into a happily sensual man, a metamorphosis echoed in his steadily improving prose style. Byatt parlays her hero's awakening into a nimble and provocative pondering of our contradictory desires to belong and to be unique both as individuals and as a species wreaking havoc on the planet."
- Booklist (US)

Very favourable reviews on

Paperback 2001.

265 pages.

Good condition.

The cost of shipping is $4.95.

There is of course no charge for shipping if you collect this book from my shop in Palmerston North following the auction.

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  • NZ Post$4.95
  • Seller allows pick-ups
  • Seller location: Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ

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