Autobiography of Red

By Anne Carson,

Book cover of Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse

Book description

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…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Autobiography of Red as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This narrative-in-verse is based loosely on the story of the Greek monster Geryon, taken from a poem by Stesichorus. Geryon was sexually abused by his older brother. His mother was too weak to protect him. The boy finds comfort in photography and falls into a complicated romance with Herakles. The writing is poetic, experimental, searing, and heartbreaking.

Based on the tale of the Tenth Labour of Herakles, this queer, lush, and cheeky novel grabbed my heart from the moment I was assigned to teach it. I did an undeclared minor in Classics during my undergrad, and aside from being extremely clever with the wordplay, I was delighted by how Carson absolutely takes the mickey out of academic writing around mythology, classical archeology, and translation. Told as a form of free-verse poetry, this novel is comprised of some of the most incredible word-crafting I've ever experienced.

By changing the word “arrows” in the original tale to “eros”, Carson…

From J.M.'s list on meta-fiction about books.

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