Michael Holroyd, Basil Street Blues
Well-known for his frank biographies of such controversial figures as Augustus John and Lytton Strachey, Holroyd teases out the story of his own distinctly problematic family in
this delightful and original book. His volatile father, always busy with his own enterprises, and his glamorous Swedish mother with her succession of exotic husbands, had only walk-on parts in his life. It was only after both his parents had died that he was overcome by a desire to find the ‘connecting story’ which his fragmented childhood had so lacked. The result is a very personal detective story, subtle, funny and poignant.
Diana Petre, The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley
Diana and her twin sisters grew up in Barnes, South London, in the care of an elderly housekeeper, having been abandoned in 1912 by their mother, the enigmatic Mrs Muriel Perry, whose real name and true identity were a mystery. After an absence of ten years, Muriel reappeared and took charge of her children, with disastrous results. For the girls, one of the highlights of their isolated lives were visits from a kindly man they knew as ‘Uncle Bodger’. In fact, as Muriel finally revealed in characteristically brutal fashion, he was their father, Roger Ackerley.
Lives and Letters
Most people do not encourage members of their family to become biographers. There is no telling what trouble they will get into. If you write fiction any member of your family who appears on the...Read more
Evasions and Deceits
Among the small horde of papers Diana Petre left me as her literary executor when she died in 2001 was a folder labelled: ‘Excuses. Lies. Evasions. Deceits.’ I thought at first that it might...Read more
Hunt the Biographer
Michael Holroyd is the most distinguished biographer of his generation, chiefly on the strength of three monumental works – Lytton Strachey, Augustus John and Bernard Shaw, published between 1967...Read more
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