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Edmund White

What a performance this novel is! And not just in the virtuoso sense. What an exhausting mishmash of contradictions: snobbery, self-abasement, campery, stock masculinity. The whole pastiche is laced with vivid images of what it means to be finally old and ugly.

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All writers mine their lives, some most clearly through combining the autobiographical and the fictional, so that, as with Christopher Isherwood, their works become a mixture of the self-revelatory and observations of the worlds in which they have lived. In more recent times, no one has more closely followed Isherwood than Edmund White, now the author of more than twenty books, professor of writing at Princeton, and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.

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