A Previous Life: Book summary and reviews of A Previous Life by Edmund White

A Previous Life

by Edmund White

A Previous Life by Edmund White X
A Previous Life by Edmund White
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jan 25, 2022
    288 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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

Media Reviews

"White offers 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

"Fans of White's will particularly enjoy this very explicit novel that explores sexuality, aging, and the complexities of love." - Library Journal

"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

"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 Pulitzer Prize finalist The Great Believers

This information about A Previous Life shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Edmund White

Edmund White (b. Ohio, USA, 1940) is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including The Flaneur. He was made an officer in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and won a literary prize from the Festival of Deauville. He now teaches at Princeton University. His acclaimed autobiography, My Lives, was published by Bloomsbury in 2006, while his play, Terre Haute, was published by Methuen Drama in 2007.

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