A new biography of Sylvia Plath that focuses on her remarkable literary and intellectual achievements, while restoring the woman behind the long-held myths about her life and art. With access to never-before-seen materials—including unpublished letters and manuscripts; court, police, and psychiatric records; and new interviews—Heather Clark paints a picture of Plath's work and life.
Red Comet, Heather Clark’s heroic biography of Sylvia Plath, draws on a plethora of untapped archives and letters—and even a previously undiscovered novel— to resurrect Plath ... illuminates Plath’s life in unprecedented detail. Suicide attempts take a backseat to fiercely focused genius ... Red Comet achieves the remarkable: It’s a majestic tome with the narrative propulsion of a thriller. We now have the complete story.
... [an] incandescent, richly researched biography ... Red Comet takes us on a literary picaresque, drawing on untapped archives, Plath’s complete correspondence, interviews with surviving members of the couple’s social and professional circles, and, most crucially, on Hughes’ journals and letters. From both perspectives Clark evokes how their common purpose rose and later diverged, invaluable reportage missing from other books ... Clark delves deeper than biographers who have gone before: We see the poet as if peering through the Hubble Telescope for the first time, blurred galaxies and nebulas bursting into crystalline detail. Yet this gold standard of a biography does something more: Red Comet is a page-turner, particularly when Clark shifts to Plath’s final two years in England ... By centering Plath’s evolving command of craft—by focusing on her peerless lyrical ear—Clark peels away clichéd interpretations much as the poet shed her false selves ... A bravura performance, Red Comet is the one we’ve waited for.
Biographer and Plath scholar Heather Clark lifts the poet’s life from the Persephone myth it has become and examines it in all its complexity. In the massive effort that is Red Comet, Clark admirably identifies and resists the morbid tendency to look at every moment, every work, as a signpost on the way to Plath’s tragic suicide ... Clark’s detailed, multidimensional treatment gives Plath’s life and work its dignity, character and sense of interiority. We get the full scope of Plath’s incredible talent here ... Considering Plath in this complexifying light, Clark unlooses some of the bonds that have held back this incomparable artist.