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The Tragedy of Arthur

Cover of The Tragedy of Arthur

The Tragedy of Arthur

A Novel

The Tragedy of Arthur is an emotional and elaborately constructed tour de force from "one of the best writers in America" (The Washington Post). Its doomed hero is Arthur Phillips, a young novelist struggling with a con artist father who works wonders of deception. Imprisoned for decades and nearing the end of his life, Arthur's father reveals a treasure he's kept secret for half a century: The Tragedy of Arthur, a previously unknown play by William Shakespeare. Arthur and his twin sister inherit their father's mission: to see the manuscript published and acknowledged as the Bard's last great gift to humanity . . . unless it's their father's last great con. By turns hilarious and haunting, this virtuosic novel, which includes Shakespeare's (?) lost play in its entirety, brilliantly subverts our notions of truth, fiction, genius, and identity, as the two Arthurs--the novelist and the ancient king--play out their strangely intertwined fates.

A New York Times Notable BookA New Yorker Reviewers' Favorite of the YearA Wall Street Journal Best Novel of the YearA San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the YearA Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of the YearA Library Journal Top Ten Book of the YearA Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the YearOne of Salon's five best novels of the year

Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.

The Tragedy of Arthur is an emotional and elaborately constructed tour de force from "one of the best writers in America" (The Washington Post). Its doomed hero is Arthur Phillips, a young novelist struggling with a con artist father who works wonders of deception. Imprisoned for decades and nearing the end of his life, Arthur's father reveals a treasure he's kept secret for half a century: The Tragedy of Arthur, a previously unknown play by William Shakespeare. Arthur and his twin sister inherit their father's mission: to see the manuscript published and acknowledged as the Bard's last great gift to humanity . . . unless it's their father's last great con. By turns hilarious and haunting, this virtuosic novel, which includes Shakespeare's (?) lost play in its entirety, brilliantly subverts our notions of truth, fiction, genius, and identity, as the two Arthurs--the novelist and the ancient king--play out their strangely intertwined fates.

A New York Times Notable BookA New Yorker Reviewers' Favorite of the YearA Wall Street Journal Best Novel of the YearA San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the YearA Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of the YearA Library Journal Top Ten Book of the YearA Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the YearOne of Salon's five best novels of the year

Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Arthur Phillips is the internationally bestselling author of The Song Is You, which was a New York Times Notable Book and named one of the best novels of the year by The Washington Post; Angelica; The Egyptologist; and Prague, which was also a New York Times Notable Book and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. He lives in New York with his wife and two sons.

Reviews-
  • The New Yorker

    "[Balances] a moving story of familial and romantic love on a deliberately unsteady fictional edifice . . . [an] exuberant chimera of a novel."

  • The New York Times Book Review "Splendidly devious."
  • The Boston Globe "Wily and witty . . . an engrossing family saga [with] sparkling and imaginative prose. Shakespeare would applaud a man who does him so proud."
  • The New York Times "Arthur Phillips has found the perfect vehicle for his cerebral talents: his ingenuity; his bright, elastic prose; and, most notably, his penchant for pastiche--for pouring his copious literary gifts into old vessels and reinventing familiar genres."
  • The Wall Street Journal "Devious and exhilarating . . . an irresistible family drama bundled into an exploration of fraud and authenticity."
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune "A circus of a novel, full of wit, pathos and irrepressible intelligence."
  • San Francisco Chronicle

    "The story of a family that is Shakespearean in several senses . . . [The Tragedy of Arthur] contains literary echoes of Nabokov, Stoppard and even . . . Thomas Pynchon."
Title Information+
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    Random House Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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