This is a book about reality and forgery, about plagiarism and originality, about truth and lies. It flits back and forth between Chatterton's London in 1770, the London of 1856 in which Henry Wallis paints the iconic Death of Chatterton using young poet George Meredith as the model, and a modern London peopled with Dickensian caricatures. These are among Ackroyd's most grotesque creations: mousy librarian Philip, gay gallery owner Cumberland and his jolly hockey sticks secretary who always refers to herself as the Head Girl, and the wonderfully vulgar and tactless drunk novelist Harriet Scrope.
A thoroughly enjoyable read. April 2013; 234 pages
Books by Peter Ackroyd reviewed in this blog:
- The Clerkenwell Tales
- The House of Doctor Dee
- The Lambs of London
- Milton in America
- The Fall of Troy