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Uncanny and beguiling, My Death follows an author as she pursues a biography of Helen Ralston, a female artist of particular importance to our narrator. It is one thing to chase after the shadows that play in the corner of your vision--it is another to catch up to them. You need a coolly unsettling read this fall, and you need it to be My Death!
The November 2023 selection of the NYRB Classics Book Club
The narrator of Lisa Tuttle’s uncanny novella is a recent widow, a writer adrift. Not only has she lost her husband but her muse seems to have deserted her altogether. Her agent summons her to Edinburgh to discuss her next book. What will she tell him? At once the answer comes to her: she will write the biography of Helen Ralston, best known, if at all, as the subject of W.E. Logan’s much-reproduced painting Circe, and the inspiration for his classic children’s book, Hermine in Cloud-Land.
But Ralston was a novelist and artist in her own right, though her writing is no longer in print and her most radical painting, My Death, deemed too unsettling—malevolent even—to be shown in public. Over the months that follow, Ralston proves an astonishingly cooperative subject, even as her biographer uncovers eerie resonances between the older woman’s history and her own. Whose biography is she writing—really?
Paperback | 144 pages | 5.00" x 7.97"