9 Novels Based on Extraordinary True Stories [SHOWING SLIDE 2 OF 9]

Truth may be stranger than fiction, but fiction can make the strange truth feel relatable and understandable. A gifted novelist can reveal the human, emotional heart of a story that on the face of it seems nothing more than freaky tabloid fodder. Take the case of Albert Dadas, who was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in France in 1886 because he wouldn’t stop walking and struggled to recall his past or even his age. Writer Maud Casey penetrates Dadas’ story in her new novel The Man Who Walked Away, which we called “lyrical in its style and fascinating in its psychology” in a starred review. The novels on this week’s list transform the stories of an Icelandic servant convicted of an 1828 murder, the trial of serial killer Harry Powers and a real-life whodunit starring Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, among other odd true tales.

THE BLUE FLOWER by Penelope Fitzgerald
by Penelope Fitzgerald

"A historical novel that's touching, funny, unflinchingly tragic, and at the same time uncompromising in its accuracy, learning and detail: a book that brings its subject entirely alive, almost nothing seeming beyond its grasp."
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