The basic facts of H.P. Lovecraft's life have long been known, but before this book the only account of his life worth having was L. Sprague de Camp's 1975 biography, which was lively but sketchy, giving a fragmented view of Lovecraft's life and work. S.T. Joshi has delivered the goods. This is not only the finest and most definitive biography of Lovecraft, it is likely to remain so for many decades into the future. While at nearly 700 pages, it's not necessarily a book every Lovecraft fan will sit down and read cover to cover, it's almost as compulsively readable as it is compulsively detailed. Joshi is sympathetic toward his subject but doesn't pull any punches: he includes Lovecraft's less flattering qualities, such as his "contemptible" racism and his "shabby" treatment of his wife. Best of all, perhaps, for fans of Lovecraft's fiction, are the accounts of how the stories came to be written, concise plot summaries, and well-chosen historical-critical remarks.
As Necrofile: The Review of Horror Fiction writes, "H.P. Lovecraft: A Life represents the crowning achievement of Joshi's distinguished career. It offers a concise and eminently readable summary of everything he has learned about Lovecraft, in one fat volume.... Joshi has accomplished no mean feat: writing a biography almost as fascinating as his subject's best fiction." --Fiona Webster