From the author of Clyde Fans, which was on the Washington Post, Guardian, and New York Times best of 2019 lists
How to encapsulate a life, in all its messiness, epiphanies, misunderstandings, disappointments, and joys? With George Sprott 1894-1975, Seth offers one tragicomic answer. Page by page, we learn about George—outmoded television host, creature of habit, charming if pompous old man, selfish lover, man about to die—and though this is ultimately the story of one man’s death, Seth leavens it with humor and restraint.
The book’s omniscient narrator offers a patchwork tale: a series of “interviews” with the people who cared about George, flashbacks, and personal reminiscences. The thwarted love of his life, Olive Mott, and the woman he marries, Helen. His trips to the Arctic and the exoticized portrait his documentaries painted of a Great White North. His habit of falling asleep on air. His humdrum demise.
What emerges is a story about memory, loss, time, and the stories we tell (and retell) to get through the day. George’s romanticizing and repeating of his adventures up North, “adventures” that are revealed to be entirely fictional, holds a mirror to the ways we each historicize our own lives.
Originally serialized in the New York Times Magazine before being published in an expanded, large-format hardcover by Drawn & Quarterly, this new edition is the definitive George Sprott.