Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Tragedy of Arthur-Arthur Phillips

The Tragedy of Arthur

Arthur Phillips

Random House, Feb 21 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780812977929

Twin siblings Arthur and Diana Phillips grew up in Glasgow. They were best friends as children enjoying the antics of their extroverted impish father whose passion was the Bard and not Nancy Drew. They enjoyed their time with him; that is when he was not in prison where he spent much of his life; as dad was also an expert forger. Dana was more a chop off the paternal block as she became an actress and a Shakespearean expert. Arthur became a writer but unlike his dad or sister he thinks the Bard stinks.

Now elderly with his lust for life dimmed after a long time in jail, dad is being released. He asks Arthur for one favor; secure his copy of “The Tragedy of Arthur” written by William Shakespeare. Arthur assumes this is his father’s final scam though his dad insists he stole it from a British estate in between prison time. Meanwhile Arthur looks back at his life, career and relationship including with Dana as a tragedy. Then there is the play.

This is a clever satirical frolic that combines a “memoir” with a “classic” lost play while lampooning both genres and reviewers alike. Told in two parts (an “autobiographic” Introduction and an alleged Shakespearean play “The Tragedy of Arthur”, fans will relish both entries; however, the biggest difficulty is not skipping the super pseudo memoir to read the play. Arthur Phillips proves a fabulous tragedy of two Arthurs.

Harriet Klausner

1 comment:

Micaella Lopez said...

The novel concludes with the Shakespearean "play" ("The Tragedy of Arthur")--that in itself is worth the read. My hat goes off to the author Arthur Phillips--really, really clever, sir!
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