The Life-Writer by David Constantine

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At times, the clarity and detail with which some stories are related so many years later strains credulity, but Constantine’s analysis of character is breathtaking, and his prose is eloquent and moving. The novel is a truthful account of both the physical pain and the mental anguish of grief, and yet the journey remains a hopeful one.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

"At its heart ... The Life-Writer turns on the same ideas of love, loss and memory that animate 'In Another Country' and has about it much the same air of tempered suffering. It would, we might expect, be filmed in the same ... manner as 45 Years."—Times Literary Supplement

"Constantine . . . proves himself yet again one of the greatest analysts of feeling working in fiction today, and one of the most lyrical. The first chapter is so shockingly accomplished that I had to stop, go back and immediately reread it."—The Guardian

"Here, [Constantine] has a persistent interest in the discarded pieces of other people's lives that can reawaken one's own past, or open up the incommunicable in the present."—Financial Times

After the death of her beloved husband, Katrin, a literary biographer, copes with the loss by writing his personal history. While researching the letters and journals he left behind, however, she comes to the devastating conclusion that his life before their marriage was far richer than the one they shared. To understand and recreate the period of his greatest happiness—hitch-hiking through France as a young man, madly in love with his companion, a French girl named Monique—Katrin embarks on a heartbreaking journey to discover the man she never fully knew.

David Constantine is an award-winning short story writer, poet, and, translator. The title story of his North American debut collection of short fiction, In Another Country: Selected Stories (Biblioasis, 2015) was adapted into the Academy Award–nominated feature film 45 Years. He is the author of one previous novel, Davies, as well as four collections of short stories in the United Kingdom, and five collections of poetry. He lives in Oxford, England, where until 2012 he edited Modern Poetry in Translation with his wife Helen.


 

About David Constantine

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David Constantine teaches German literature at St. Anne's College, Oxford, and is a poet, translator, and authority on Holderlin. His most recent collection is The Pelt of Wasps.
 
Published September 19, 2016 by Biblioasis. 250 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Life-Writer
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Sep 25 2016

At times, the clarity and detail with which some stories are related so many years later strains credulity, but Constantine’s analysis of character is breathtaking, and his prose is eloquent and moving. The novel is a truthful account of both the physical pain and the mental anguish of grief, and yet the journey remains a hopeful one.

Read Full Review of The Life-Writer | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Stacey D'erasmo on Nov 07 2016

In “The Life-Writer,” that ax breaks the ice within the wife and she is the one who wields it. “The Life-Writer” isn’t so much a love story, or even an unrequited love story, as it is the story of a late, beautiful and painful awakening.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by STACEY D’ERASMO on Nov 13 2016

“The Life-Writer” isn’t so much a love story, or even an unrequited love story, as it is the story of a late, beautiful and painful awakening.

Read Full Review of The Life-Writer | See more reviews from NY Times
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