Penelope Fitzgerald (1916-2000) has been acclaimed as one of the finest British novelists of the late twentieth century.
Four of her novels were shortlisted for the Booker Prize and one of them, Offshore (1979), won; her final work of historical fiction, The Blue Flower (1995), won the US National Book Critics' Circle Award.
Fitzgerald's works are distinguished by their acute wit, deft handling of emotional tone and an unsentimental yet deeply felt commitment to portraying the lives of those men, women and children `who seem to have been born defeated'.
Admirers have long recognised the brilliance of Fitzgerald's writing, yet the deceptive simplicity of her style invariably leads readers to ask, `How is it done?' This book seeks to answer that question, providing the first sustained exposition of Penelope Fitzgerald's compositional method, working both inwards from the surface of her writing and outwards from the archival evidence of Fitzgerald's own drafts and working papers.