The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother And Me (Anglais) Relié – 16 octobre 2014
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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
"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
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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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.
author of (Kindle's) Lisa,Bright and Dark, and (Kindle's) Edgar Allan.
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