Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
In this extraordinary epic poem, Anne Carson bridges the gap between classicism and the modern, poetry and prose, with a volcanic journey into the soul of a winged red monster named Geryon.
There is a strong mixture of whimsy and sadness in Geryon's story. He is tormented as a boy by his brother, escapes to a parallel world of photography, and falls in love with Herakles - a golden young man who leaves Geryon at the peak of infatuation. Geryon retreats ever further into the world created by his camera, until that glass house is suddenly and irrevocably shattered by Herakles' return. Running throughout is Geryon's fascination with his wings, the colour red, and the fantastic accident of who he is.
Autobiography of Red is a deceptively simple narrative layered with currents of meaning, emotion, and the truth about what it's like to be red. It is a powerful and unsettling story that moves, disturbs, and delights.
'Her work is full of moments of startling originality and beauty. The poems play with character and plot, myth and magic; they are rich with attitude and wit and the undertow of grief. If she was a prose writer she would instantly be recognised as a genius.' - Colm Tóibín, Times Literary Supplement
'Anne Carson has created, from fragments of the Greek poet Stesichoros, a profound love story...forty-seven compulsively readable long-lined poems of intense cinematic detail. Carson writes in language any poet would kill for: sensuous and funny, poignant, musical and tender, brilliantly lighted.' - Ruth Padel, New York Times Book Review
'Anne Carson is a daring, learned, unsettling writer. Autobiography of Red, which perhaps comes closest to representing the range of her voice and gifts, is a spellbinding achievement.' - Susan Sontag
Imprint: Jonathan Cape
Publication Date: 15 July 1999