Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This work of narrative poetry, and it’s sequel "Red Doc", are loose adaptations of the characters Geryon and Herakles from Greek Mythology. Set in in the modern era, the two young boys are lovers, Red with the body of a monster. Both their fantastic and mundane travels through the world cover familiar themes: trying to avoid attention, capricious lovers, and self-reliance. Herakles breaks his heart, and Geryon works to find peace.

-- Cody

— From Cody M. Staff Picks


The award-winning poet reinvents a genre in a stunning work that is both a novel and a poem, both an unconventional re-creation of an ancient Greek myth and a wholly original coming-of-age story set in the present.
Geryon, a young boy who is also a winged red monster, reveals the volcanic terrain of his fragile, tormented soul in an autobiography he begins at the age of five. As he grows older, Geryon escapes his abusive brother and affectionate but ineffectual mother, finding solace behind the lens of his camera and in the arms of a young man named Herakles, a cavalier drifter who leaves him at the peak of infatuation. When Herakles reappears years later, Geryon confronts again the pain of his desire and embarks on a journey that will unleash his creative imagination to its fullest extent. By turns whimsical and haunting, erudite and accessible, richly layered and deceptively simple, Autobiography of Red is a profoundly moving portrait of an artist coming to terms with the fantastic accident of who he is.
National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
-Anne Carson is, for me, the most exciting poet writing in English today.- --Michael Ondaatje
-This book is amazing--I haven't discovered any writing in years so marvelously disturbing.- --Alice Munro
-A profound love story . . . sensuous and funny, poignant, musical and tender.- --The New York Times Book Review
-A deeply odd and immensely engaging book. . . . Carson] exposes with passionate force the mythic underlying the explosive everyday.- --The Village Voice.

About the Author

ANNE CARSON was born in Canada and has been a professor of Classics for over thirty years. Her awards and honors include the Lannan Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Griffin Trust Award for Excellence in Poetry, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780375701290
ISBN-10: 037570129X
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: July 27th, 1999
Pages: 160
Language: English
Series: Vintage Contemporaries