Fiction. The daringly imagined, masterfully realized story of poet John Keats's second life abroad. What if Keats had not died in Rome at only twenty-five, just as he was coming to realize his poetic gifts? In this audacious alternate telling, the young poet is pulled back from the brink of death only to find his troubles far from over. He is short on money, far from home, his literary reputation anything but assured—but his life and imagination have been spared, and a new country awaits. In an Italy at uneasy peace, full of foreign armies and spies, Keats is drawn into Percy and Mary Shelley's expatriate circle, resumes his old profession of surgery and falls in with student revolutionaries who are plotting a more radical cure for their nation. His fiancée in London expects his return, and everyone is expecting his next poem, but he has not returned from his deathbed quite the same person—or poet—that he was. Written with deep knowledge, compassion and brio, Paul Kerschen's debut novel is a spellbinding historical yarn and a heady engagement with the literature of the past, a thing of beauty in itself and a meditation on the writer's duty in troubled times.
author siteTyler Malone @ LA Times
Paul Kerschen was born in 1978 and grew up in Arizona. He studied at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he received an Iowa Arts Fellowship and Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship, and earned a doctorate in English literature at UC Berkeley. He has written for Music & Literature, The Times Literary Supplement and others. THE DROWNED LIBRARY (Foxhead, 2011) is a collection of short fiction. THE WARM SOUTH is his first novel. He lives in California.Author City: SAN FRANCISCO, CA USA