The Phantom of Thomas Hardy (Hardcover)
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In this imaginative novel, worlds continue to collide as Floyd, an American writer recovering from a devastating neuro-viral attack, and his wife, Beverly, immerse themselves in Hardy’s world. While pondering the enigma of a fictional character living in a factual building, Floyd is approached by Hardy himself—despite his death in 1928.
This phantom—possibly conjured out of Floyd’s damaged brain—tasks the Americans with finding out what Hardy missed in love. Embarking on their quest, they visit Hardy’s birthplace, home, and grave, exploring the Dorset landscape and the famous novels with their themes of tormented love. Peering into the Victorian past, they slowly dismantle the clutter of screens that Hardy placed around his private life, even as their own love story unfolds, filled with healing and hope.
“This strikingly original book crosses the boundaries of genre in daring ways, as we observe a fictional self in pursuit of a phantom, another self, the soul of a great author. This is a work of memoir, fantasy, literary biography, spiritual questing—and more. As ever, Skloot draws on deep reserves of intellectual and emotional energy. A remarkable achievement.”—Jay Parini, author of The Last Station
“Only the inventive Floyd Skloot could come up with—and gorgeously pull off—an experiment like The Phantom of Thomas Hardy. With the intensity of a fevered dream, he seeks his own self-integration after brain trauma while digging around, assembling, and imagining the history of the elusive Hardy. Blending memoir, reportage, literary analysis, and historical fiction (who does that?) Skloot dazzles with the depth of his research, and enchants with his signature vivid, precise, and thoroughly delicious prose.”—Jeanne Marie Laskas, author of Concussion