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BOOKS/PEOPLE: Penelope Fitzgerald

I declare a crush on Penelope Fitzgerald!

I was mightily impressed by her book 'The Blue Flower' - a faultless evocation of Germany in the last decades of the 18th Century - the life of Fritz von Hardenberg, the poet Novalis.

This extraordinary woman, born a Knox, was as English as can be yet not. Her prose has been described as limpid, her style as piquant, sad, fastidious and funny, clever and engaging. 


I have now read 'Innocence' - who else has ever portrayed Florentines so acutely? And captured the atmosphere of the nascent burgeoning economy in the 1950's, known in Italy as 'Il Boom'? In this novel what is unsaid is as important as what is written. 

I devoured Hermione Lee's vivid biography, published in 2013.

Throughout Penelope Fitzgerald's life the question was asked, "How is it done?” A clue might be a favourite book of the authors 'Le Grand Meaulnes' by Alain Fournier, a victim in the first year of the First World War aged 28 - what is unsaid is the essence of this novel whose last line confirms the authors intent. 


I shall now read every tome and every scrap Penelope Fitzgerald has ever written! 

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