Pretender by Mary Morrissy
Published by Jonathan Cape, 2000
1920. A young woman throws herself from a bridge into the Landwehr
Canal, intent on suicide. But she is saved. She does not speak and
refuses to give any clue to her identity. She is literally a nobody.
After two years of silence, she claims to be Anastasia, the fourth
daughter of theTsar of Russia. For over sixty years she lives with
the firm conviction that she is, indeed, a grand duchess. It is
only after her death in 1984 that DNA tests establish that the woman
could not have been a Romanov. Who, then, was this mysterious woman,
who lived a lie and convinced so many others of her fictional identity?
And what of her own identity that she drowned that winter's night
Morrissy has made a close, sensitive and tender study of Franziska
Schanzkowska – the Polish factory worker who claimed to be
Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas 11. The Pretender is a most
sympathetic and careful reconstruction of an extraordinary story
by one of Ireland’s finest writers'
of the subtlest and most penetrating of the latest generation of
Irish writers' John Banville
astonishing tale. She writes with conviction, passion and tenderness.
A marvellous, inventive, lyrical book' Fay Weldon, Mail on Sunday
a rich, mesmerizing mosaic, the kind of book you want to read twice
to appreciate in its fullness. With marvellous recurring imagery
throughout, both natural and fashioned, and a wonderful use of language
…. this is a joyous, poignant and thought-provoking read.'
Desmond Traynor, Books Ireland
Morrissy was born in Dublin.
the same author:
A Lazy Eye
Mother of Pearl
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