A Book of Secrets kindle µ Hardcover read Í michael holroyd

doc Ò A Book of Secrets ¹ Michael Holroyd

On a hill above the Italian village of Ravello stands the Villa Cimbrone a place of fantasy and make believe The characters that move through Michael Holroyd's new book are destined never to meet they lived through different eras and reside in different countries Yet the Villa Cimbrone unites them all A Book of Secrets is a treasure trove of hidden lives uncelebrated achievements and family mysteries Michael Holroyd peers into dusty corners to bring a company o Just when I thought that surely the last word had been wirtten for a while about the Bloomsbury set here is celebrated biographer Michael Holroyd with a nonfiction narrative about a villa in Italy its turn of the century visitors and their offspring of very uncertain parentage Holroyd is a master of pulling all this material together I love how he brings a little life to what could have been a week with many dull moments reading through a bunch of disordered papers Hurtling round the Yorkshire moors in her brave carCatherine informs me that she is not after all the daughter of Angela and David Lycett Green but of Angela Green and her lover Ralph Grimthorpe Catherine had got into the car at the beginning of our journey as my old school friend's sister but gets out of it an hour later as Earnest's illegitimate granddaughter

text A Book of Secrets

A Book of SecretsF unknown women into the light Their lives are fluid and vulnerable they play the role of mistress fiancée or muse and always somehow illegitimate From Alice Keppel the mistress of both the second Lord Grimthorpe owner of the Villa Cimbrone and the Prince of Wales; Eve Fairfax Lord Grimthorpe's abandoned fiancée and sometime muse of Auguste Rodin; and finally to the novelist Violet Trefusis the lover of Vita Sackville West in one of the most scandalous love a I read this book cover to cover not because I couldn't put it down in fact I literally threw it down in exasperation several times but because my book club chose it I read out of duty and kept hoping to find some redeeming ualities somewhereThe gushingly positive review from The New York Review of Books and other noted media are misleading I wonder if the NYRB reviewer really read the book or simply skimmed it and wrote his review on the basis of Holroyd's previous prize winning biographies of important peopleI'm not a big fan of biography Holroyd's specialty but this book isn't really a biography at all Rather it's a series of biographical essays about a handful of minor personalities in the British aristocracy These non fictional characters share some tangled familial relationships including amorous affairs and illegitimate children; Holroyd attempts to connect them all to each other through the Villa Cimbrone a fabulous mansion in Italy where most of them spent some time He tries to bring the villa to life as another character in the tale but I never felt transported to the Tuscany coast nor did I feel haunted by the same ghosts who linger in the villa's halls or the author's mind Holroyd's sketches of these less than important people should have been right up my alley; as I spend most of my time studying so called unimportant people Yet Holroyd has made this group of eccentric aristocrats appear to be dreadfully boring people who led or less ordinary lives of 19th and 20th century wealthy or well connected vagabonds More than one reviewer notes that Holroyd writes these real people's lives like a novelist but I disagree This book lacks a plot and character development typical of the modern novel and it lacks any redeeming ualities of the postmodern novel The passages where Holroyd digresses into memoir are puzzling; they mostly made me sad as he didn't seem to know when to stop writing With the exception of the scandalous lesbian love affair between Violet Trefusis and Vita Sackville West in Part II I found little of interest here other than the few mentions of Marcel Proust Max Jacob and other literati of turn of the century Paris While an com reviewer found Holroyd's critical summaries of Trefusis's fiction interesting they did not inspire me to go pick up one of her books in English French or in any other language Unless you have a deep interest in the late 19th and early 20th century British aristocracy's obscure members or you are trapped on a deserted island with this book I recommend picking up something else to read

Michael Holroyd ¹ A Book of Secrets reader

A Book of Secrets kindle µ Hardcover read Í michael holroyd í On a hill above the Italian village of Ravello stands the Villa Cimbrone a place of fantasy and make believe The characters that move through Michael Holroyd's new book are destined never to meet they lived through different eras and reside in difFfairs of the early twentieth century these women are always on the periphery of the respectable world Also on the periphery is the elusive biographer Michael Holroyd who turns the spotlight upon himself as part of his investigations into the art of biography Taking the reader on a journey of discovery from Ravello to Paris from Kirkstall Grange in Yorkshire to Vita Sackville West's home at Knole A Book of Secrets lucidly gives voice to fragile human connection Disappointed Holroyd is one of the kings of biography Shaw Strachey and the TIMES review of this piued my interest But the only thing I found interesting while not terribly earth shattering or revealing was the information about the relationship of Violet Trefusis and Vita Sackville West The title is totally misleading Sure there are illegitimate daughters and absent fathers eg Violet was the illegitimate child of Ernest BeckettLord Grimthorpe heaven help him with that stupid title and her mother Alice Keppel also had a much famous paramour the Prince of Wales But that's not the focus of the book In fact the book has no focus that I could find Holroyd became mildly obsessed with the Villa Cimbrone in Ravello a place that tangentially connects to some of the personages he writes about And he devotes far too many pages to one Tiziana Masucci a young contemporary woman writer who is so totally even passionately obsessed with Violet Trefusis that I feared for her sanity Tiziana's not Violet's