The chance to collect the earliest four available hand-numbered Slightly Foxed Editions, limited to 2,000 copies of each title.
It is a Saturday afternoon in the 1950s, and Harold Carlton (lightly disguised as Howard Conway) is being given a characteristic welcome by his grandmother at the door of her mansion flat just off London’s Edgware Road. Like everything about Grandma – her food, her décor, her make-up, her fears, her joys, her sorrows – it’s excessive, overwhelming. She is the monstrous yet entirely believable figure who dominates this darkly comic story of a Jewish family’s rise and fall.
Grandma, the arch manipulator and expert in emotional blackmail, is determined to foil her youngest son’s plans to marry a shiksa – a non-Jewish girl – by shipping him off to join his brother in New York. When the two brothers return full of New World entrepreneurial spirit it all rebounds, of course, in an awful yet irresistibly hilarious way. Though light-heartedly written, Marrying Out is a brilliantly observed study of family dynamics, and of a certain kind of Jewish life in 1950s North London.
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 walkon 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.
The writer and naturalist Gavin Maxwell is best known for Ring of Bright Water, his moving account of raising otters on the remote west coast of Scotland. In his childhood memoir The House of Elrig he describes, with the same lyrical power that made that earlier book a classic, how it all began. In loving detail he evokes the wild moors around his Scottish home and the creatures that inhabited them. As was then the custom, he was ripped away from this paradise to go to a series of brutalizing schools. But always in his imagination he was at Elrig. It was his refuge and his escape.
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, he was their father, Roger Ackerley.
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