Blindspot: A Novel by a Gentleman in Exile and a Lady in Disguise


Lepore, J, and J Kamensky. 2008. Blindspot: A Novel by a Gentleman in Exile and a Lady in Disguise. New York: Spiegel & Grau/Random House.
Blindspot:  A Novel by a Gentleman in Exile and a Lady in Disguise


New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Blindspot is a twenty-first century novel in eighteenth-century garb. It plays with the conventions of eighteenth-century novels, newspapers, portraits, and histories. Novels look for a different kind of truth than history books, and while Blindspot is fiction, it relies on our work as historians, on every page. Much that happens in the novel is based on actual events and adapted from archival evidence chronicling both ordinary life and extraordinary transformations. The American Revolution. The Enlightenment. The eighteenth century’s bawdiness, its anticlericalism, its obsessions with wit and sham and rank and pleasure. A few of Blindspot’s characters were inspired by real people; many of its buildings are based on buildings that still stand; its portraits resemble paintings that now hang on the walls of American museums. A sizable number of very short passages in the text are taken nearly verbatim from eighteenth-century letters, newspapers, account books, diaries, sermons, novels, poems, riddles, philosophical treatises, and legal records. We quoted, we borrowed, we took liberties. But we also kept faith with the past. --Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore


"It may justly be said in its Praise, without Flattery to the Authors, that it is the most Extraordinary Piece that ever was wrote in America."--Benjamin FRANKLIN, author of the classic Autobiography (1790)

"Was there ever yet any thing written by mere man that was wished longer by its readers, excepting Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, and Blindspot?"--Samuel JOHNSON, compiler of the best-selling Dictionary (1755)

"A Piece of this Kind is much wanted in the World, which is but too much, as well as too early, debauched by pernicious Novels."--Samuel RICHARDSON, author of the debauched novel Pamela (1740)

"A good Book is a Lesson to all its Readers, and of far greater use to the Circle of its Acquaintance than a good Man. Such is this Ingenious and romantick Adventure."-- Henry FIELDING, author of the still more debauched parody Shamela (1741)

"I will tell you in three words what the book is. –It is a history.—A history!"--Laurence STERNE, acclaimed author of Tristram Shandy (1759), and no mathematician

"A most inimitable Performance! Who is he, what is he, that could write so excellent a
Book?"--John PUFF, the prolific author of very many eighteenth-century blurbs

“A beautifully crafted debut historical novel that is at once a tender love story, a murder mystery, and a brilliant sociological and political portrait of a turbulent time.”—Library Journal (starred review and editor’s pick)

“An erudite and entertaining recreation of colonial America on the brink of the
Revolution.”--New York Times Book Review

“Both frisky and learned . . . a treat.”--Washington Post

“A lusty romance, a murder mystery, and a bit of Americana, all rolled into one big, fat historical romp. Lepore and Kamensky have recreated a fascinating world and brought history hotly alive.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Not since John Barth published his classic riff on a genre forged by novelists such as
Daniel Defoe and Samuel Richardson, The Sot-Weed Factor (1960), has anyone rendered colonial America in such exquisite satirical strokes..”—Chicago Tribune

“Thrilling, salty, swashbuckling . . ., this inspired page-turner will have readers pondering who will play the leads in the movie.”—The Star-Ledger

Audio: Blackstone Audio, 2008; Large Print edition 2009.
Book of the Month Club, History Book Club, Literary Guild, and Mystery Guild.


See also: Books
Last updated on 12/04/2012