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The Biographer's Tale: A Novel
by A.S. Byatt
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Reviewed by: Natalia Forrest

Phineas was a post-graduate studying postmodern literary theory when he decided he would rather deal with 'real things'. In his new quest, he sets out to write a biography of the biographer Scholes Destry-Scholes. Along the way he encounters eugenics, soul searching, relationships and bee taxonomy among other topics and experiences.

If you have not encountered postmodernism, post-structuralism or literary theory before, you may find some of the points in this book very vague or incomprehensible. Even if you have encountered them before, you may still be left scratching your head in places, wondering why they were included. Like 'Possession', Byatt reveals her great gift for creating historically based 'facts' and materials that are in reality fictions. Within this novel there are some well-earned swipes at feminism, post-structuralism and literary theory. But by the end, I thought Byatt was trying a little too hard to be clever. However, if you have ever had to endure a lecture on post-modernism/structuralism, you should give this novel a go.

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