PositiveThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)Domestic arrangements are usually treated with great tact in Tom Stoppard: A Life, a biography which, although immodestly long and massively detailed, manages to avoid tabloid speculation. That it succeeds in establishing a relation between the man who sat down to breakfast and the formal completion of his ideas is all the more remarkable given Stoppard’s publicly avowed hostility to the genre ... [the] biography becomes theatre history, invaluable to the expert, potentially gruelling to the amateur. Either way, it takes up space. At the same time, Lee’s academic skill in tracing sources pays off with a writer who is so very frank about his inspirations ... In the immediate context, there is a fascinating instance of \'doubling\' as it operates between playwright and biographer, who mirror one another in their concern with \'the relation of the written to the lived life\'. Of course, in many ways the task of the biographer has been unlike that of the playwright as she searches for an almost therapeutic continuity in the factual life of someone notorious in his own narratives for jaw-dropping jolts ... The biographer is most present and even more impressive in her transparent understanding of the frustrations of her lot. Reservations come together, in a quietly moving, semi-resigned coda in which she acknowledges the power of Stoppard’s own beliefs ... At just under 1,000 pages, this biography is an alloy ingot. Much of what it contains is gold-dust—bright, airy, precious—but there are particles of considerably darker material. The contrast is optical, theatrical. All those marvellous plays and now this prodigious book—how lucky can you get?