Man Booker Prize Finalist: This “marvelous novel” about an abandoned husband, set in Moscow a century ago, is “bristling with wry comedy” (Newsday).
March 1913. Moscow is stirring herself to meet the beginning of spring. English painter Frank Reid returns from work one night to find that his wife has gone away; no one knows where or why, or whether she’ll ever come back. All Frank knows for sure is that he is now alone and must find someone to care for his three young children.
Into Frank’s life comes Lisa Ivanovna, a quiet, calming beauty from the country, untroubled to the point of seeming simple. But is she? And why has Frank’s bookkeeper, Selwyn Crane, gone to such lengths to bring these two together?
From a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, this novel, with a new introduction by Andrew Miller, author of Pure, is filled with “writing so precise and lilting it can make you shiver” (Los Angeles Times).
“Fitzgerald was the author of several slim, perfect novels. The Blue Flower and The Beginning of Spring both had me abuzz for days the first time I read them. She was curiously perfect.” —Teju Cole, author of Open City
About the author
Penelope Fitzgerald wrote many books small in size but enormous in popular and critical acclaim over the past two decades. More than three hundred thousand copies of her novels are in print, and profiles of her life appeared in both the New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine. In 1979, her novel Offshore won Britain’s Man Booker Prize, and in 1998 she won the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Blue Flower. Though Fitzgerald embarked on her literary career when she was in her sixties, her works have been praised as “the best argument . . . for a publishing debut made late in life.” She told the New York Times Magazine, “In all that time, I could have written books and I didn’t. I think you can write at any time of your life.” Dinitia Smith, in her New York Times obituary of May 3, 2000, quoted Fitzgerald from 1998 as saying, “I have remained true to my deepest convictions. I mean to the courage of those who are born to be defeated, the weaknesses of the strong, and the tragedy of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, which I have done my best to treat as comedy—for otherwise how can we manage to bear it?” (The New York Times Book Review).
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