Catherine Lacey’s Biography of X is a daring reimagining of 20th century America where the Vietnam War never happened, Bernie Sanders was President, and an enigmatic multi-hyphenate artist named X was worthy of two biographies. The novel opens in 1997, one year after X dies, just as a book about her is released. X’s widow, an alt-weekly journalist named C.M. Lucca, is unnerved by the biography’s publication—it’s not factually accurate—so she takes matters into her own hands. C.M. sets out to write the definitive book on X’s life, much of which, she learns, she was not privy to. Lacey casts X as a Zelig-like figure who loosely resembles the real iconoclasts of the downtown New York art scene of the ’70s (Patti Smith, Nan Goldin, Susan Sontag, to name a few) and worked with some of the biggest names from that era (David Bowie, Tom Waits, Annie Leibovitz). Lacey seamlessly blurs the line between fact and fiction, including frequent footnotes that cite real articles and fake ones by real journalists. The result is a kaleidoscopic exploration of art, love, and grief. —Shannon Carlin
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