Nearly seven years ago, David Lodge had the bad luck to collide with Colm Tóibín when both writers produced a novel about Henry James. Tóibín was the first to publish; his work The Master (2004) won high praise and a Booker Prize nomination. Lodge’s Author, Author (2004), trailing six months behind, suffered in the inevitable comparisons. There had been plenty of excitement about the idea of using the novel form to tell the story of this famous life, but little was left for Lodge’s enterprise. Tóibín had used up most of the oxygen. If the order of publication had been reversed, it might have been different.
From Henry James to H.G. Wells
A Man of Parts: A Novel
by David Lodge
Harvill Secker, $32.95 pb, 565 pp, 9781846554971
Brenda Niall’s writing career began during her time as an academic at Monash University, where she was Reader in the Department of...
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