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Three years after Lord Byron dismissed him from his service, Dr John Polidori has fallen on hard times. And then a young woman mistakes the doctor for the poet.
As the pair fall in love, Polidori knows that he can only emerge from Byron’s shadow if he confesses his true identity to the deluded girl; but was it only Byron’s shadow that led her to love him in the first place? And a ghost story, The Vampyre, is published under Byron’s name, but will the truth of the matter be uncovered?
Imposture works very well as a fable about various kinds of fakery, asks searching questions about the formation of personality, and catches the spirit of both its late-Romantic period and of the stories associated with it ... [Markovits is a] gifted writer.
Imposture is a tour de force, a mesmerising portrayal of a life shot through with a sense of failure. Its pastiche prose is pretty much faultless and its central metaphors - not just of imposture, but also of vampirism, the way that certain people suck the life out of others - are handled with delicacy and grace.
Benjamin Markovits is an intriguing, sophisticated and accomplished writer. ... Not since Fitzgerald, to my mind, has there been a prose stylist who is so in love with things, the stuff and sensuality of privilege. Markovits renders, like Fitzgerald, the bright glitter that is cast by money across the surface of the world.
A heartbreaking, elegant and intriguing novel with, at its centre, a real author. ... a sensitive, superlative fable, a novel both light and deep.
There are many exquisite moments. Imposture is a clever meditation on the nature of authorship, and a painfully accurate evocation of the fawning anxiety that can bedevil ambitious young men.
Imposture is Benjamin Markovits' third novel and every bit as polished and ingenious as its predecessors ... It confirms Markovits as a novelist of unusual intelligence and imaginative sympathy.
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