Lord Byron was the greatest writer and most notorious, scandalous lover of his age—an irresistible attraction for a sheltered, bookish, and passionate young woman like Eliza Esmond. Eliza believes she's met Byron on the doorstep of his publisher, and that her dreams have come true when he arranges to meet her in secret. But what if the man she believes to be Byron is someone else—a look-alike named John Polidori, who once toured Europe as Byron's doctor? And if Polidori is the true author of a wildly successful book everyone believes to have been written by Byron, who is the real imposter?
Stylish, subtle, and seductive, Imposture is about ambition, fantasy, the power of artistic greatness, and the consequences of celebrity.
Praise for Imposture:
“Benjamin Markovits is an intriguing, sophisticated and accomplished writer. . . . [Imposture] unfolds with a quietness and self-effacement that is the mark of true confidence in a storyteller. . . . Not since Fitzgerald . . . 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.” —Kirsty Gunn, The Observer
A Quiet Adjustment
In his “Byron trilogy,” Benjamin Markovits lovingly reinvents the nineteenth-century novel, true to its perfect prose, penetrating insight, and simmering passions. Inspired by the actual biography of Lord Byron—the greatest literary figure and most notorious sex symbol of his age—Markovits re-imagines Byron’s marriage to the capable, intellectual, and tormented Annabella and the scandal that broke open their lives and riveted the world around them: Byron’s incestuous relationship with his impetuous half-sister, Gus. Their very different understandings of love and one’s obligations to society lead them all—and the reader—headlong to a devastating conclusion.
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Praise for A Quiet Adjustment:
“. . . A beautifully drawn character, portrayed with moral clarity as well as complexity.” —Jay Parini, The New York Times
“Divided into three discrete sections - 'Courtship,' 'Marriage' and 'Separation' - A Quiet Adjustment is a beautifully crafted tale of tainted love, Austenesque in style, Byronic in its melodrama.”—Toby Lichtig, The New Statesman
“Markovits tells his tale with incredible style . . . an uncomplicated delight . . . Incomparable.”—Melissa Katsoulis, The Times
“With epigrammatic brevity . . . [Markovits] offeres insights of such startling acuity that they sometimes make you gasp. This is prose of extraordinary richness and subtlety, rich in nuance and irony . . . . [A Quiet Adjustment is] a hypnotic, impeccably researched, and dazzling glimpse into a psyche which has fascinated the world for nearly 200 years—and will no doubt continue to do so.” —Christina Patterson, The Independent
When his former colleague Peter Sullivan dies, Ben Markovits inherits unpublished manuscripts about the life of Lord Byron—including the novels Imposture and A Quiet Adjustment. Ben’s own literary career is in the doldrums, and he tries to revive it by publishing and writing about his dead friend, whose reimagining of Byron’s lost memoirs—titled Childish Loves—may provide a key to Sullivan’s own life and tarnished reputation.
Acting as a literary sleuth, Ben sorts through boxes of Sullivan’s writing; reads between the lines of his scandalous, Byron- inspired stories; meets with the Society for the Publication of the Dead; and tracks down people from Peter’s past in an effort to untangle rumor from reality. In the process, he crafts a masterful story-within-a-story that turns on uncomfortable questions about childhood and sexual awakening, innocence and attraction, while exploring the lives of three very different writers and their brushes with success and failure in both literature and life.
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Praise for Childish Loves:
“Childish Loves is much more layered than the previous novels in the trilogy, and in that sense is even more rewarding. All three are beautifully written and reel you in to a disturbing world of fictions and a genuine attempt to answer the question about the essential unknowability of history. . . . If the postmodern 'revival' of the historical novel is, as Anderson argues, about 'a desperate attempt to awaken us to history,' then few can have done it as entertainingly as Markovits.” —Amy Mathieson, The Scotsman
“All this would be fiendishly complicated were it not delivered in such cool, effortless prose. Markovits the author is Henry James without the tautology, and he slips magnificently into [Byron's] early 19th-century idiom” —Catherine Taylor, The Telegraph