Synopses & Reviews
What if Mary Shelley had not invented Frankenstein’s monster but had met him when she was a girl of eight, sitting by her mother’s grave, and he came to her unbidden? What if their secret bond left her forever changed, obsessed with the strange being whom she had discovered at a time of need? What if he were still alive in the twenty-first century?
This bold, genre-defying book brings us the “monster” in his own words. He recalls how he was “made” and how Victor Frankenstein abandoned him. He ponders the tragic tale of the Shelleys and the intertwining of his life with that of Mary (whose fictionalized letters salt the narrative, along with those of her nineteenth-century intimates) in this riveting mix of fact and poetic license. He takes notes on all aspects of human striving—from the music of John Cage to robotics to the Northern explorers whose lonely quest mirrors his own—as he tries to understand the strange race that made yet shuns him, and to find his own freedom of mind.
In the course of the monster’s musings, we also see Mary Shelley’s life from her childhood through her elopement with Percy Bysshe Shelley, her writing of Frankenstein, the births and deaths of her children, Shelley’s famous drowning, her widowhood, her subsequent travels and life’s work, and finally her death from a brain tumor at age fifty-four. The monster’s fierce bond with Mary and the tale of how he ended up in her fiction is a haunted, intense love story, a story of two beings who can never forget each other.
A Monster’s Notes is Sheck’s most thrilling work to date, a luminous meditation on creativity and technology, on alienation and otherness, on ugliness and beauty, and on our need to be understood.
From the Hardcover edition.
“A remarkable creation, a baroque opera of grief, laced with lines of haunting beauty and profundity.” —The Washington Post
Now in paperback, the bold, genre-defying book that asked: What if Mary Shelley had not invented Frankenstein's monster at all but had met him when she was a girl of eight, sitting by her mother's grave, and he came to her unbidden?
In a riveting mix of fact and poetic license, Laurie Sheck gives us the "monster" in his own words: recalling how he was "made" and how Victor Frankenstein abandoned him; pondering the tragic tale of the Shelleys and the intertwining of his life with Mary's (whose fictionalized letters salt the narrative, along with those of her nineteenth-century intimates); taking notes on all aspects of human striving--from Gertrude Stein to robotics to the Northern explorers whose lonely quest mirrors his own--as he tries to understand the strange race that made yet shuns him, and to find his own freedom of mind.
About the Author
LAURIE SHECK is the author of five books of poetry, including The Willow Grove, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A recent Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Boston Review, among other publications. She teaches in the MFA Program at the New School.