Oh, good lord. No wonder I love Penelope Fitzgerald so much. Here I thought it was the short length of her novels. Instead it’s the life experience:
By that time, in her early sixties, Penelope Fitzgerald was long accustomed to humiliation and, far worse, to catastrophe. Indeed, her late flowering as a novelist of extraordinary power and originality was founded in part on her ability to translate into writing her empathy for life’s losers. Failure was a major theme of her life and her work. ‘I am drawn’, she said, ‘to people who seem to have been born defeated or, even, profoundly lost.’
The passage is from Mark Bostridge’s review of a new biography of Fitzgerald. It’s not yet available on Amazon, so in the meantime, catch up on one of her books. They’re all on my shelf (and they’re all worth reading)!