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…With The Tragedy of Arthur Mr. Phillips has created a wonderfully tricky Chinese puzzle box of a novel that is as entertaining as it is brainy. If its characters are a little emotionally predictable, we don't mind all that much: we're more interested in seeing how the author cuts and sands his puzzle pieces, assembles them into a pretty contraption and then inserts lots of mirrors and false bottoms.
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times
[T]he novelist's art is a cunning ability to lure the reader into treating counterfeit bills as if they were current. And this particular novel—a fictional memoir posing as a fraudulent introduction to a forged play—is a spectacular instance of the confidence game. It is a tribute to Arthur Phillips's singular skill that his work leaves the reader not with resentment at having been tricked but rather with gratitude for the gift of feigned wonder.
Stephen Greenblatt - New York Times Book Review
I suspect that most readers will greatly enjoy Phillips's easygoing and digressive, if admittedly self-absorbed introduction. Just think of the joyless academic prose that a professional Elizabethan might have produced!…The Tragedy of Arthur, however you view it, shows off a writer at the top of his game.
Michael Dirda - Washington Post
Devious and exhilarating...an irresistible family drama bundled into an exploration of fraud and authenticity.
Wall Street Journal
Wily and witty...an engrossing family saga [with] sparkling and imaginative prose. Shakespeare would applaud a man who does him so proud.
A circus of a novel, full of wit, pathos and irrepressible intelligence.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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.
San Francisco Chronicle
Their father spends most of [Arthur and his sister Dana's] lives in prison, but when he's about to be released as a frail old man, he enlists Arthur in securing the publication of The Tragedy of Arthur from an original quarto he claims to have purloined from a British estate decades earlier.... It's a tricky project, funny and brazen, smart and playful.
A memoir and a Shakespearean play wrapped into a novel?.... The narrator—a knockoff of the author himself?—relates the obsession of his father and twin sister with the Bard of Avon and the discovery within the family of a hitherto unknown play by none other than.... [T]he narrator pokes wicked fun at the ubiquitous memoir genre.... [I]nspired, original, entertaining writing—deftly delivered here by one of our most talented authors. —Edward Cone, New York
The always-original Phillips has outdone himself in this clever literary romp. Successfully blending and bending genres, he positions himself as a character in a novel that skewers Shakespearean scholarship, the publishing industry, and his own life to rollicking effect.... [Y]ou simply must read the book.... [Phillips] continues to intrigue and amaze. —Margaret Flanagane
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