A Previous Life

A Previous Life : Another Posthumous Novel

3.06 (236 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
3.06 (236 ratings by Goodreads)
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'Elegant, filthy - and quite possibly the queerest thing you will read all year.' - Guardian

'Intriguing and inventive.' - Electric Literature, "Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Book of the Year"

'A dizzyingly enticing and kaleidoscopic take on the spectrum of sexual experiences.' - Publishers Weekly, starred review

A daring, category-confounding, and ruthlessly funny novel from National Book Award honored author Edmund White that explores polyamory and bisexuality, ageing and love.

Sicilian aristocrat and musician, Ruggero, and his younger American wife, Constance, agree to break their marital silence and write their Confessions. Until now they had a ban on speaking about the past, since transparency had wrecked their previous marriages. As the two alternate reading the memoirs they've written about their lives, Constance reveals her multiple marriages to older men, and Ruggero details the affairs he's had with men and women across his lifetime-most importantly his passionate affair with the author Edmund White.

Sweeping outward from the isolated Swiss ski chalet where the couple reads to travel through Europe and the United States, White's new novel pushes for a broader understanding of sexual orientation and pairs humor and truth to create his most fascinating and complex characters to date. As in all of White's earlier novels, this is a searing, scintillating take on physical beauty and its inevitable decline. But in this experimental new mode-one where the author has laid himself bare as a secondary character-White explores the themes of love and age through numerous eyes, hearts and minds.

Delightful, irreverent, and experimental, A Previous Life proves once more why White is considered a master of American literature.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 28mm | 558g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1526632241
  • 9781526632241
  • 1,269,023

Review quote

Elegant, erudite, raunchy and fun, America's great Man of Letters is working at the top of his form, giving us a pair of portraits hung against the pattern of history. What a joy to read this master of prose and invention! * Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize winning author of LESS * The best book in Edmund White's long and extraordinary career * Benjamin Moser, Pulitzer Prize winning author of SONTAG: HER LIFE AND WORK * White's project, as always, is to show us the human: the human body as defined by its urges and needs, and the human heart as it evolves through time and experience. In A Previous Life, he also gives us daring experiments of form, of autofiction, and of storytelling. Fresh and inventive and wise * Rebecca Makkai, author of THE GREAT BELIEVERS * An erotically charged and ingenious metafictional story of a married couple ... A dizzyingly enticing and kaleidoscopic take on the spectrum of sexual experiences * Publishers Weekly, starred review * Humorous and nearly always irreverent ... An erotically charged literary romp facing the loss of physical beauty and the inevitable passage of time * Booklist *
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About Edmund White

Edmund White is an award-winning and prolific writer. His work, which includes the novel Our Young Man and the memoir The Flaneur, has revitalised American literature, breaking down boundaries of class, sexuality and power. His accolades include the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for achievement in American fiction, and a Guggenheim Fellowship under the recommendation of Susan Sontag. White lives in New York.
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Rating details

236 ratings
3.06 out of 5 stars
5 12% (28)
4 26% (61)
3 32% (76)
2 17% (40)
1 13% (31)
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