Acclaimed short-story writer and winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award, Robert Anderson has written a brilliantly inventive first novel–a book that blends the facts of a famous writer’s life with the profound effect of her death on an entire generation.
Sylvia Plath’s legacy inspires, harrows, and haunts the three people at the center of Little Fugue: her husband, the poet Ted Hughes, freed by her death and then imprisoned by her myth; Assia Gutmann Wevill, Plath’s rival and Hughes’s mistress, who kills herself only six years after Plath; and Robert Anderson, a young New York writer, who is obsessed with Plath’s poems and her suicide, which “forged my identity and, incidentally, ruined my life.”
Their lives intersect, transiently and directly, through some of the more dramatic social upheavals of the past decades: the ’68 student riots, the drug-addled seventies, the AIDS crisis of the eighties, the cataclysm of 9/11.
Little Fugue crackles with wit and verbal dexterity. There have been many accounts of the Plath/Hughes drama, but author Robert Anderson provides a fresh, utterly convincing interpretation of events. This is a brilliant novel of artists caught between the erotic allure of extinction and the eternal power of poetry.