A Biography of Penelope Fitzgerald
She published her first book in her very late fifties. She began it as a hobby. I am not a professional writer, she would say by that time, only very anxious to write one or two things which interest me. If publishing your first book signifies the end of your adolescence, then Penelope Fitzgerald pushed very hard the meaning of juvenilia. Actually she had a hard life, and didn't write till then because she couldn't find time: she had a family to take care of. Later she would say, I'm an old writer who has never been a young one. How are her four novels? Despite the echoes of Beckett and Turgenev, she is also a distinctly English writer, because, she explained, the Englishman considers life not important enough to be tragic and too serious to be comic.
I quoted here abundantly from a review of a biography of Penelope Fitzgerald, authored by Hermione Lee. The review was published in NY Times:
Labels: Penelope Fitzgerald