Tom Stoppard: A Life

Hermione Lee
May 21, 2021

This is a fantastic biography. It's incredibly well researched (literally: I find it hard to believe how much time and trouble the author took to talk with everyone, read every archived document, chase down every source), and clearly and compellingly told.

I love Stoppard's works, and I'm always a little surprised at how relatively little of it there is (he's not exactly cranking out a new play every year - which is GOOD, I'm glad he takes however much time he needs). I'm also quite dismayed at how hard it is to see any of his works. I love live theater, being in the same room as the actors and the rest of the audience (although being short means I often have trouble seeing) - but there just aren't that many productions of Stoppard works, and they don't all happen to be running at the exact moment I get to the chapter on Hapgood, or Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. (I am SO glad I got to see Rough Crossing years ago; I don't think that's produced very often at all, and it's a delightful, wonderful play.)

I wish these things were on film. I would really like to see Hapgood, and The Real Thing, and someday, when I can steel myself for it, Leopoldstadt.

But in the meantime, I have this magnificent biography. I am enjoying it immensely, and I am so grateful to Hermione Lee for writing it, and to Stoppard for requesting that she do so.