Autobiography of Red

Autobiography of Red : A Novel in Verse

4.32 (9,448 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 1 business day
When will my order arrive?


In this extraordinary epic poem, Anne Carson bridges the gap between classicism and the modern, poetry and prose, with a volcanic journey into the soul of a winged red monster named Geryon. There is a strong mixture of whimsy and sadness in Geryon's story. He is tormented as a boy by his brother, escapes to a parallel world of photography, and falls in love with Herakles - a golden young man who leaves Geryon at the peak of infatuation. Geryon retreats ever further into the world created by his camera, until that glass house is suddenly and irrevocably shattered by Herakles' return. Running throughout is Geryon's fascination with his wings, the colour red, and the fantastic accident of who he is. AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RED is a deceptively simple narrative layered with currents of meaning, emotion, and the truth about what it's like to be red. It is a powerful and unsettling story that moves, disturbs, and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 157 x 216 x 13mm | 266g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0224059734
  • 9780224059732
  • 179,906

About Anne Carson

Anne Carson was born in Canada and has been a professor of Classics for over thirty years. Her awards and honours include the T. S. Eliot Prize, a Lannan Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Griffin Prize, on two occasions, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur more

Review quote

"Like all of Anne Carson's writing, this book is amazing - I haven't discovered any writing in years that's so marvellously disturbing. I just feel so happy that she's around" -- Alice Munro "Her work is full of moments of startling originality and beauty. The poems play with character and plot, myth and magic; they are rich with attitude and wit and the undertow of grief. If she was a prose writer she would instantly be recognised as a genius" -- Colm Toibin Times Literary Supplement "Anne Carson has created, from fragments of the Greek poet Stesichoros, a profound love story...forty-seven compulsively readable long-lined poems of intense cinematic detail. Carson writes in language any poet would kill for: sensuous and funny, poignant, musical and tender, brilliantly lighted" -- Ruth Padel New York Times Book Review "Anne Carson is a daring, learned, unsettling writer. Autobiography of Red, which perhaps comes closest to representing the range of her voice and gifts, is a spellbinding achievement" -- Susan Sontagshow more

Review Text

From the fragmentary remains of the sixth-century B.C. Greek poet Stesichoros, Carson (a McGill classics professor) fashions a contemporary tale of "identity memory eternity," a postmodern extrapolation that blurs the distinction between the figural and literal. If Stesichoros's mostly lost narrative about a red-winged monster reads like an experiment by Gertrude Stein, Carson's deliberately fractured epic reimagines the Greek poet's Geryon as a confused and lonely young man, who nevertheless still sports wings, which seem to be an objective correlative of his differences, especially his homosexuality. Surprisingly readable, this verse novel evolves into a fairly straight-forward story about Geryon's travels in South America, where he runs into the great love of his life, Herakles, who, in Carson's version, is not Geryon's killer, but his emotional slayer, and also shares with Geryon a love of volcanoes. As enigmatic as it may sound, this mock epic peroration on the color red seems to differ little from Kermit the Frog lamenting the difficulties of being green. Fans of Guy Davenport's dense fictions will appreciate Carson's innovative style, which shouldn't be confused with, say, Vikram Seth's more formal and transparent verse novel. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

9,448 ratings
4.32 out of 5 stars
5 56% (5,249)
4 28% (2,658)
3 11% (1,068)
2 3% (313)
1 2% (160)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X