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The tragedy of Arthur : a novel
Arthur Phillips
Adult Fiction PHILLIP

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A long-lost Shakespeare play surfaces in Phillips's wily fifth novel, a sublime faux memoir framed as the introduction to the play's first printing-a Modern Library edition, of course. Arthur Phillips and his twin sister, Dana, maintained an uncommon relationship with their gregarious father, a forger whose passion for the bard and for creating magic in the everyday (he takes his kids to make crop circles one night) leave lasting impressions on them both: Dana becomes a stage actress and amateur Shakespeare expert; Arthur a writer who "never much liked Shakespeare." Their father spends most of their lives in prison, but when he's about to be released as a frail old man, he enlists Arthur in securing the publication of The Tragedy of Arthur from an original quarto he claims to have purloined from a British estate decades earlier, though, as the authentication process wears on-successfully-Arthur becomes convinced the play is his father's greatest scam. Along the way, Arthur riffs on his career and ex-pat past, and, most excruciatingly, unpacks his relationship with Dana and his own romantic flailings. Then there's the play itself, which reads not unlike something written by the man from Stratford-upon-Avon. It's a tricky project, funny and brazen, smart and playful. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

A memoir and a Shakespearean play wrapped into a novel? Who could pull this off but the prolific Phillips (Prague; The Egyptologist; Angelica; The Song Is You)? The narrator-a knockoff of the author himself?-relates the obsession of his father and twin sister with the Bard of Avon and the discovery within the family of a hitherto unknown play by none other than. Our narrator then recounts the tribulations of family life, centered on his dad's frequent incarcerations for forgeries of artworks (and plays?). At length the father persuades his son the narrator to sell the play, and it is bought by-you guessed it-with the understanding that the narrator would pen an introduction to contextualize the play, the "introduction" becoming the memoir that is considerably longer than the play. This drama, The Tragedy of Arthur, is presented in full herewith, duly annotated by both the narrator and an academic. The Bard would be amused to be set center-stage by someone who professes to have no patience with him, while the narrator pokes wicked fun at the ubiquitous memoir genre. VERDICT Highly recommended for all who enjoy inspired, original, entertaining writing-deftly delivered here by one of our most talented arthurs, uh, authors. [An LJ Editors' Pick, p. 29; see Prepub Alert, 11/22/10.]-Edward Cone, New York (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Father was sent to prison for forgery; tries to help get a play written by his father published.

Sister of Arthur; loves plays.

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