Benjamin Markovits began Imposture, the first novel in his trilogy loosely based around the life of Lord Byron, with a preface declaring the work to be that of Peter Sullivan, an English teacher he once worked with briefly in New York. The conceit was a clever one, as Imposture traced the life of John Polidori, Byron’s doctor, who in an age before photographs looked sufficiently like the poet to be occasionally mistaken for him. Markovits played with the notions of impersonation and posturing that these double roles involved, but dropped the novel-within-a-novel act entirely for his second work, A Quiet Adjustment.
However, in the concluding book, Childish Loves, Sullivan is back. Markovits weaves a narrative in which ‘Ben’ goes to America in order to trace the last years of Sullivan’s life before he committed suicide, at the same time as he pieces together the final ‘Byronic Interludes’ that Sullivan