I’m always really pleased to discover an unknown-to-me author and being involved with Shiny New Books has given me a chance to encounter some wonderful writers. A new name I reviewed in the current issue is Leonard Michaels, better known I think in his native USA than here.

Watercolor by Leonard Michaels of his first wife, Sylvia Bloch, 1964

Watercolour by Leonard Michaels of his first wife, Sylvia Bloch, 1964

His novel “Sylvia” has been reprinted by the excellent Daunt Books, and I was intrigued by the premise:

The blurring of the lines between fiction and fact is an artistic trope which is very much in vogue in current writing. Novels abound featuring real people, from Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson in fictionalised retellings of their lives, through to Oscar Wilde and Josephine Tey in completely made up crime-fighting adventures. This tendency somewhat obscures the fact that much fiction has its basis in fact; and so how is the reader meant to deal with a book like this which is billed as a fictionalised memoir?

To read the rest of my review you can pop over to Shiny New Books here. “Sylvia” is a thought-provoking read and it’s clear Michaels never really got over his first wife. Highly recommended – and don’t forget to check out the other wonderful bookish content on SNB!

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