Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New Release: Wilkie Collins

I was very excited to be offered a copy of Peter Ackroyd's new Ackroyd's Brief Lives entry, Wilkie Collins. 'Tis the season where one cannot help but choose one of Wilkie's brilliant stories to indulge in as the wintry gloom approaches. And what better way to preface a Collins read (mine was The Law and the Lady this year) than by learning more about the man himself.

Small in size (not unlike Collins himself), this book nevertheless covers Wilkie's life, including so many scandals and illnesses. It was an easy read and I appreciated the opportunity to flesh out those things I already knew about one of my favorite authors. It was obvious while reading that he is also one of Ackroyd's favorites and it produced a feeling of veracity about the facts in the book -- both from faith that Ackroyd was diligent in his research and also trust that he viewed Collins' actions in a more sympathetic light that some other biographers.

I have really enjoyed Ackroyd's non-fiction (including London Under) and fiction (featuring an RIP read from five years ago) and look forward to picking up his Brief Lives volume about Poe (and eventually getting back to the very large London: The Biography).

Solving the mystery,


  1. Oh, I would totally read this. Peter Ackroyd has been hit-or-miss with me in the past, but I am always down for more people to admire my man Wilkie Collins.

    1. Total admiration here. He was honest about the laudanum and the mistresses but looked at them with a big "eh. so what?" I loved it!