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Woman of mystery

A counterfactual history of modern America serves as a backdrop to the life of the enigmatic ‘X’ – a woman of multiple personae and impenetrable disguises

8 April 2023

9:00 AM

8 April 2023

9:00 AM

Biography of X Catherine Lacey

Granta, pp.416, 18.99

Catherine Lacey’s new book is the second literary novel I’ve read recently to radically rewrite American history. In last year’s To Paradise, Hanya Yanagihara imagined a different outcome for the Civil War: the Confederate states secede to become the thoroughly racist ‘United Colonies’. Up north are several political unions, such as the ‘Free States’ (including New York), where gay marriage is not just legal but widespread by the end of the 19th century.

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