The Bookshop, the Gate of Angels, the Blue Flower: Introduction by Frank Kermode
Penelope Fitzgerald, who died in 2000, emerged late in life as one of the most remarkable English writers of the last century. She began her writing career in 1975 at the age of fifty-nine, and over the next two decades she published three biographies, nine novels, and a collection of short stories. Now three of her acclaimed novels are gathered here in one volume.
The Bookshop is a postwar tragicomedy of manners, set in an isolated seaside town where an enterprising woman opens a bookstore only to find it beset by poltergeists, weather, and hostile townsfolk. The Gate of Angels is an Edwardian romance within a novel of ideas: a young doctor devoted to science and to his all-male Cambridge college finds his life and views disrupted by a nurse named Daisy. The Blue Flower, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, revitalizes historical drama through the story of Novalis, an eighteenth-century German romantic poet and visionary genius, and his unlikely love affair with a simple child-woman.
These three novels all display Fitzgerald's characteristic wit, intellectual breadth, and narrative brilliance, applied to an array of traditional forms into which she breathed new life.
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"[The Blue Flower] is a quite astonishing book, a masterpiece." -New York Times Book Review "Her limpid, exact prose reflects an unwaveringly clear view of the human predicament. Fitzgerald seems to be one of those rare artists gifted with both the knowledge of how things are and the skill to record what she knows with subtlety and devastating truthfulness." -A. N. Wilson, Evening Standard "The Blue Flower is an enchanting novel about heart, body, and mind. The writing is elliptical and witty...so that what could be a sad little love story is constantly funny and always absorbing, with a cast of characters both endearing and amusing. This novel is a jewel." -Daily Telegraph