So I read this rave review of Hermione Lee’s biography of Penelope Fitzgerald and thought, “Yeah, give it a try.” That’s 75p’s worth of try, which is what it costs me to order a copy from the library. the library, amazingly, continues to function, even if the budgets, staffing and footprint are all down. to me, it’s one of the wonders of the world, but God knows if it will last.
So, it’s along book, and i’m not sure, even know, how much I like Penelope Fitzgerald, or rate her as an author, but the biography is a thing of beauty - careful, detailed, sensitive. Fitzgerald’s a difficult, prickly character, and there must have been times when it was hard to be fair to her, but I worked my way steadily though, reading a chunk a day before breakfast, just luxuriating in the pleasures of intelligent, quality writing.
This encouraged me to seek out The Blue Flower, supposedly Fitzgeral’s masterpiece, from a local second-hand bookshop. I read it, with some enjoyment, but not much enthusiasm, and i’m not sure I’m converted. But the quality of the biography is utterly beyond doubt.