Tom Stoppard: A Life

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A NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS' TOP BOOK OF THE YEAR


One of our most brilliant biographers takes on one of our greatest living playwrights, drawing on a wealth of new materials and on many conversations with him.


“An extraordinary record of a vital and evolving artistic life, replete with textured illuminations of the plays and their performances, and shaped by the arc of Stoppard’s exhilarating engagement with the world around him, and of his eventual awakening to his own past.” —Harper's


Tom Stoppard is a towering and beloved literary figure. Known for his dizzying narrative inventiveness and intense attention to language, he deftly deploys art, science, history, politics, and philosophy in works that span a remarkable spectrum of literary genres: theater, radio, film, TV, journalism, and fiction. His most acclaimed creations—Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Real Thing, Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Shakespeare in Love—remain as fresh and moving as when they entranced their first audiences.


Born in Czechoslovakia, Stoppard escaped the Nazis with his mother and spent his early years in Singapore and India before arriving in England at age eight. Skipping university, he embarked on a brilliant career, becoming close friends over the years with an astonishing array of writers, actors, directors, musicians, and political figures, from Peter O'Toole, Harold Pinter, and Stephen Spielberg to Mick Jagger and Václav Havel. Having long described himself as a "bounced Czech," Stoppard only learned late in life of his mother's Jewish family and of the relatives he lost to the Holocaust.


Lee's absorbing biography seamlessly weaves Stoppard's life and work together into a vivid, insightful, and always riveting portrait of a remarkable man.

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