|(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
How is it possible that the genius author of such 19th century classics as The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest died destitute in Paris at the age of 46? In John Vanderslice’s vivid and heartbreaking novel, we meet Oscar Wilde after a two year incarceration in an English prison for gross indecency. Once free, his reputation and finances in ruins, he leaves England for Paris where, frequently inebriated, he stays in shabby hotel rooms paid for by his few, remaining friends.
In Vanderslice’s deftly-imagined portrayal, Wilde’s idiosyncratic and affecting greatness is revealed. Through his thoughts and interactions, we experience the heart and mind of a literary giant brought down by the “morals” of his time. For a while, Wilde manages to maintain his legendary sense of humor and joie de vivre, a superstitious religiosity, and the dogged pursuit of beautiful young men. Sadly, the formerly prolific author and raconteur no longer has the desire to write. Instead, he distantly observes the world and is ultimately felled by serious illness. It is at his funeral that his artistic reputation begins its slow rehabilitation as friends and a small devoted public flock to the church to honor the artist, who spoke openly about homosexuality, the hypocrisy of Victorian values, and the importance of art for art’s sake.
“With elegant prose and a glittering wit of which Wilde himself would approve, John Vanderslice brings to life this agent provocateur’s final act. Masterfully merges insight and imagination with the historical and literary record to provide a portrait that is rich and nuanced and utterly compelling.” – Rachel Hall, author of Heirlooms.
“John Vanderslice lays bare the consequences of Wilde’s betrayal by those whom he loved and trusted. The Last Days of Oscar Wilde is a grim reminder of the destructive power of senseless persecution.” —Jennifer Steil, author of The Woman Who Fell From the Sky.
“A quiet, tender portrait of a literary giant.” Kirkus Reviews
This is the story of Oscar Wilde in the years following his imprisonment. Its the story of a man who was a poet, a playwright, and a novelist. A free-thinker who loved and lived. We find Oscar drinking more and more, and writing less and less. He is broken and instead of living life, he is merely observing it. Vanderslice has created a story that captures the heartache, betrayals, and desires of a man who is longing for love - someone he can wholeheartedly trust and connect with - but somehow manages to always find a partner willing to use and exploit him. This is a story filled with passion and emotion. A story about lust and love. A story about the complicated nature of humanity that inhabits us all. It is a must-read for fans of Oscar Wilde and fans of historical fiction. This is a book that you will love and won't forget. I absolutely enjoyed getting to know about Wilde through Vanderslice's perspective - it was informative, creative, and heartfelt. Such a great read!!
Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Last Days of Oscar Wilde