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LIFE MASK

Donoghue, Emma

2,073 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0151009430 / ISBN 13: 9780151009435
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2004
Condition: As New Hardcover
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About this Item

Signed by author on title page in black fountain ink. Author ofnine novels, including ROOM, THE WOMAN WHO GAVE BIRTH TO RABBITS (a collection of short stories), SLAMMERKIN, and, her latest, THE WONDER. As new, first edition, first printing, in as new, mylar-protected dust jacket.*Packed carefully and shipped in a box to insure arrival in pristine condition. {Not remainder-marked or price-clipped} BUND. Bookseller Inventory # 022487

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Bibliographic Details

Title: LIFE MASK

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First U.S. Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

The bestselling author of Slammerkin turns her attention to the Beau Monde of late eighteenth-century England, turning the private drama of three celebrated Londoners into a robust, full-bodied portrait of a world, and lives, on the brink of revolution. The Honourable Mrs. Damer is a young widow of eccentric tastes, the only female sculptor of her time. The Earl of Derby, inventor of the horse race that bears his name, is the richest man in the House of Lords-and the ugliest. Miss Eliza Farren, born a nobody, now reigns as Queen of Comedy at Drury Lane Theatre.

In a time of looming war and terrorism, of glittering spectacle and financial disasters, the wealthy liberals of the Whig Party work to topple a tyrannical prime minister and a lunatic king. Their marriages and friendships stretch or break; political liaisons prove as dangerous as erotic ones. Will Eliza Farren ever gain entry to that elite circle that calls itself the World? Can Lord Derby's pride endure public mockery of his long, unconsummated courtship of the actress? And how is Anne Damer ever to silence the whispers of Sapphism that haunt her? Let the games begin...

Review:

One of the satisfactions of Emma Donoghue's masterful fourth novel, Life Mask, is the tension between the writer's contemporary interests, like lesbianism and the balance of power in marriage, and her 18th Century subject matter. Life Mask is a fictional recreation of a plausible (but unproven) love triangle between the comedic actress Eliza Farren, the sculptor Anne Damer (the niece of Horace Walpole, a fantastic minor character here), and Edward Smith-Stanley, the twelfth Earl of Derby, a Whig (liberal) politician who left his name to the horse race he founded. Like her bestseller Slammerkin, the novel spins an intricate story from the slightest of historical traces, in this case a single reference in the commonplace book of Hester (Thrale) Piozzi: a snarky four-line epigram that hints at the danger to Miss Farren's reputation in consorting with "one whose name approaches 'Damn Her.'"

Readers who stay with Donoghue through the crowded and confusing early chapters of Life Mask will find a skillful, partly sympathetic portrait of English aristocracy during and after the French Revolution, a trove of period detail, and a spellbinding tale of unlikely but enduring love. --Regina Marler

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