The Biographer's Tale

The Biographer's Tale


Phineas G. Nanson, a disenchanted graduate student, decides to immerse himself in the messiness of ‘real life’ by writing a biography of a great biographer. But a ‘whole life’ is hard to find. Everywhere he looks he discovers only fragments – strange notes, boxes of marbles, undated postcards.

As Phineas’s research continues, his mind roams from the deserts of Africa to the maelstroms of the Arctic. Along the way he meets others building wholes from bits and pieces – taxonomists, ecologists, even travel agents – and begins to puzzle out his future. But who will guide him from the labyrinth and back into his own life?

About the author

A. S. Byatt

A.S. Byatt (1936-2023) was a novelist, short-story writer and critic of international renown. Her novels include Possession (winner of the Booker Prize 1990), the Frederica Quartet and The Children’s Book, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. She was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999, and was awarded the Erasmus Prize 2016 for her ‘inspiring contribution to life writing’ and the Pak Kyongni Prize 2017. In 2018 she received the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award.
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