Autobiography of red

a novel in verse

149 pages

English language

Published Oct. 29, 1999 by Vintage Books.


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5 stars (9 reviews)

The award-winning poet Anne Carson reinvents a genre in Autobiography of Red, a stunning work that is both a novel and a poem, both an unconventional re-creation of an ancient Greek myth and a wholly original coming-of-age story set in the present.

Geryon, a young boy who is also a winged red monster, reveals the volcanic terrain of his fragile, tormented soul in an autobiography he begins at the age of five. As he grows older, Geryon escapes his abusive brother and affectionate but ineffectual mother, finding solace behind the lens of his camera and in the arms of a young man named Herakles, a cavalier drifter who leaves him at the peak of infatuation. When Herakles reappears years later, Geryon confronts again the pain of his desire and embarks on a journey that will unleash his creative imagination to its fullest extent. By turns whimsical and haunting, erudite …

2 editions


5 stars

I love this. If you haven't read it, read this first. It's perfect. The synesthesia, the acuity, how heartwrenching it is, the creativity — I feel like I'm just scratching the surface of how fucking fantastic this text is. Each time I put it down I felt a little sadder for not being able to see my own world as richly.

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