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Times Higher EducationWe not only learn a lot about George, who invariably and inevitably plays only a minor role in biographies of his brother--but as the lives illuminate each other, new light is shed upon material that we thought we knew already...Why is The Keats Brothers such a terrific read? What is the secret of this stunning achievement, and what makes this book so unputdownable?...The first is that [Gigante] is a hell of a storyteller. Departing from Plutarch's model, Gigante adroitly alternates between John's life and George's, counterpointing the one with the other, drawing out parallels and contrasts with an ease that can inspire only admiration...The second reason is that Gigante possesses imagination to an uncommon degree. And what is a biography without imagination, empathy and judgement? The opening pages alone (set in Margate in 1816) and the epilogue (Oscar Wilde visiting Louisville, Kentucky, in 1882) are dazzling gems of inspired life writing--but there are many, many more such passages...Gigante has that eye for the telling detail that only the born storyteller has--and, pace Plutarch, she gives us both lives and history: her vignettes of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, of New York and Louisville are first-rate history made alive--they open up a new world, and the New World, to Keats scholars. In a way different from William Wordsworth, John Keats knew how to make poetry out of loss. In Denise Gigante he has found a congenial biographer, writing as she does about what remains, even if there is all ocean between.
— Christopher Bode