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The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother And Me (Anglais) Relié – 16 octobre 2014


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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"As classy and consuming a memoir as you’re likely to read all autumn." (Caroline Sanderson Bookseller)

"Prepare to be seduced by outlandish delights and strange creatures." (Sebastian Shakespeare Tatler)

"Sumptuous." (Daisy Goodwin Sunday Times)

"A vivid sketch of the extraordinarily glamourous society of Faringdon in its heyday, especially during the 30s." (Dinah Birch Guardian)

"Zinovieff is an entertaining and amiable companion on this, at times, uncomfortable romp through her family saga." (Sara Wheeler The Times)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Faringdon House in Oxfordshire was the home of Lord Berners, composer, writer, painter, friend of Stravinsky and Gertrude Stein, a man renowned for his eccentricity – masks, practical jokes, a flock of multi-coloured doves – and his homosexuality. Before the war he made Faringdon an aesthete’s paradise, where exquisite food was served to many of the great minds, beauties and wits of the day.

Since the early thirties his companion there was Robert Heber-Percy, twenty-eight years his junior, wildly physical, unscholarly, a hothead who rode naked through the grounds, loved cocktails and nightclubs, and was known to all as the Mad Boy. If the two men made an unlikely couple, at a time when homosexuality was illegal, the addition to the household in 1942 of a pregnant Jennifer Fry, a high society girl known to be ‘fast’, as Robert’s wife was simply astounding.

After Victoria was born the marriage soon foundered (Jennifer later married Alan Ross). Berners died in 1950, leaving Robert in charge of Faringdon, aided by a ferocious Austrian housekeeper who strove to keep the same culinary standards in a more austere age. This was the world Sofka Zinovieff, Victoria’s daughter, a typical child of the sixties, first encountered at the age of seventeen. Eight years later, to her astonishment, Robert told her he was leaving her Faringdon House.

Her book about Faringdon and its people is marvellously witty and full of insight, bringing to life a vanished world and the almost fantastical people who lived in it.

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Détails sur le produit


Dans ce livre

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: HASH(0xa046ddec) étoiles sur 5 43 commentaires
31 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa02dab28) étoiles sur 5 A Legacy Of Light And Darkness 8 avril 2015
Par John D. Cofield - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Gerald Tyrwhitt-Wilson, Lord Berners, was the quintessential English eccentric throughout his life, a reputation that has only increased since his death over sixty years ago. The model for Lord Merlin in Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love, he loved art and music and displayed a considerable talent for both. His home, Faringdon House in Oxfordshire, was renowned for its comfort, fine cuisine, and hospitality that was enjoyed by Gertrude Stein, Igor Stravinsky, the Mitfords, the Lygons, Evelyn Waugh, and a galaxy of other social and literary stars. Lord Berners was known for his sense of humor and elaborate practical jokes, but he also had a sadder side: he was prone to depression and mercurial mood swings that could sometimes bedevil him for long periods.

Lord Berners' emotional life was somewhat mysterious. He never married, but carried on long friendships with younger men, the longest lasting of which was with Robert Heber-Percy, the youngest son of a noble family. Handsome but without direction and extremely reckless, Robert (The Mad Boy of the title) met Lord Berners in 1930. Despite a nearly 30 year age gap, they became close friends and companions. Robert moved into Faringdon House and remained there for the rest of his life acting as Berners' companion, estate manager, and probable lover (since homosexuality was illegal in England, both men were understandably reticent about that aspect of their relationship.) Even when Robert married the beautiful young socialite Jennifer Fry this curious arrangement continued, with Jennifer living and giving birth to a daughter at Faringdon House.

Sofka Zinovieff is the granddaughter of Robert and Jennifer, and this book is partly a biography of Lord Berners and her grandparents, partly a chronicle of the glamorous parade of writers, musicians, artists, and socialites who came to Faringdon House during its heyday, and partly the story of her own life as the literal heiress (Faringdon House is now hers) of these colorful people. It's an amazing story full of incident and dripping with one fascinating anecdote after another. It's also a sad story, because many of these talented, creative people struggled with depression, addictions, and tragedies, moving from one lover to another but rarely if ever finding true soul mates and contentment.

As befits a chronicle of people who lived in beautiful surroundings, this book is physically a work of art, with heavy glossy pages, fine binding and end papers, and even a pink ribbon for a bookmark. There are many illustrations, mostly photographs of Lord Berners, Robert, and their families and friends; along with some modern photos of some of Faringdon's treasures. Lord Berners himself would be pleased with it.
18 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa02dad74) étoiles sur 5 Mad as a Box of Frogs -- and Magnificently So! 12 avril 2015
Par Robert J. Canning - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
A MAGNIFICENT multi-biographical book by someone who knows the subjects intimately. Sofka Zinovieff writes with authority, facts and humor, and illustrates it with family photos that enhance your reading pleasure. Lord Berners and his "longtime companion," Robert Hebert-Percy, were the original Odd Couple, and "mad as a box of frogs." It is also a beautifully put together volume -- the fabric bookmark adds quite a bit of Old World class. I'm only halfway through the book and had to share my joy and pleasure in reading it with you! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa02dad38) étoiles sur 5 A Brilliant Social History 23 avril 2015
Par Chicago Gourmand - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Fascinating social history of English country-house life with an amazing cast of historical figures
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa02f0048) étoiles sur 5 It's rather like a grand cocktail party where at each turning you ... 16 mai 2015
Par John Neufeld - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Start your engine: from Edwardian to Elizabethan eras, all --- and I mean ALL - the names, faces, clothing, horses, clubs, balls, characters, "twee's," bright young things --- are contained here ... some you'll be surprised to see resurrected and dealt with openly and honestly. From Eveyln (both) to Cyril, from earls to undermaids, this is a holiday treat for the summer. Written by a not very surprisingly somewhat bitter woman whose background is as confused and complicated as anyone we've ever read about, this adventure is definitely as entertaining as a mural of famous faces and bodies on a restaurant wall. Every suspicion you ever had is confirmed,and some not even imagined. It's rather like a grand cocktail party where at each turning you see someone you knew, used to know, don't ever want to know again. You may have slept with him/her but you can't for the life of you figure out why. What could have possessed you? Well, for starters, humor and style and wit and brain power and ambition and lack of it. Not to mention Daddy's money. All this brings us great joy. We deserve stories like these, just as their characters deserved everything they got during their lifetimes. Oh --- it's about a group of English people.

John Neufeld
author of (Kindle's) Lisa,Bright and Dark, and (Kindle's) Edgar Allan.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa02f00a8) étoiles sur 5 A refreshing view of the pre and post WW2 lives of some very interesting people 12 mai 2015
Par J R DURRANT - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
An incredibly interesting and well written book. The pre 1939 period is dealt with in a very refreshing manner, so unlike many others which seem to be repetitive. In particular I admire the manner in which the author has managed to "keep her distance" from the narrative and only towards the end letting us into her life as part of this incredible family of fascinating characters.
One critical comment regarding the materials used in the production of this book. Though very nice- the darn thing weighs 2 lb. 14 oz. which if like me you do most of your reading in bed - not easy to manage- I agree a trivial comment when weighed (ho ho ) against the quality of the content
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