Thursday, August 28, 2014

The top ten fictitious biographies

Jonathan Gibbs is a writer and journalist born in Trinidad, raised in Essex, and living, now, in London. His debut novel is Randall.

For the Guardian, Gibbs tagged his top ten biographies of made-up persons as if they were real. (Note: these books are not fictionalized biographies – novels based on the life of a famous person. Those are more common.) One title on the list:
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight by Vladimir Nabokov

It's no surprise that many "fictitious biographies" include a fair bit of the biographer in their narrative. The model for this is surely AJA Symons's The Quest for Corvo, with its detective story premise, which came out shortly before Nabokov started writing this, his first English language book. It is the tale of celebrated writer Sebastian Knight, told by his half-brother, V, though as you'd expect with this author the elusive quarry retreats even as the befuddled hunter advances, and by the end we're as uncertain about the one as we are about the other.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Real Life of Sebastian Knight appears on Louise Welsh's literary top 10.

--Marshal Zeringue