Peter Ackroyd Read-Alikes

(The Plato Papers, Chatterton, Lambs of London, The Clerkenwell Tales, Shakespeare: The Biography, London: The Biography)

Ackroyd writes very literate and often wryly humorous novels that contain a lot of historical and literary allusion, and usually explore facets of the lives and work of English writers and artists.  The city of London is his biggest interest both in fiction and nonfiction.

If you like Ackroyd’s fiction, try:

Robert Nye  (The Late Mr. Shakespeare is a bawdy, funny, allusion-filled “memoir” of a man who as a boy acted with Shakespeare and originated the roles of Juliet and Cleopatra.  It is a well-researched historical novel, too)

Thomas Pynchon (while longer and more dense, Pynchon’s novels use a lot of allusion and reference as well as span a wide array of subjects and themes.  Try Mason & Dixon)

Karen Maitland  (rich in educated allusion and a fine sense of place—try A Company of Liars for a stellar reworking of The Canterbury Tales)

Geraldine Brooks (if you like Ackroyd’s great sense of place as well as novels that re-envision literary or actual characters, you might like her March or Year of Wonders)

Dan Brown (if you want historical allusion and mystery but a lighter, faster, more action and plot-based story, try Angels and Demons or The Da Vinci Code)

If you enjoy Ackroyd’s nonfiction about London and/or England, try:

Liza Picard’s Elizabeth’s London, Restoration London and Dr. Johnson’s London (great cultural histories of London in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries)

Daniel Pool’s What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox-Hunting to Whist, the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth Century England (very fun cultural history with its basis in examples from British literature)

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