This absorbing biography gallantly sets out to right a wrong and to solve a mystery, triumphantly succeeding in both objectives. It also, despite its brevity, gives a full and fascinating portrait of a complex, strong and puzzling personality – an attractive woman whose selfless nature and bountiful generosity were shadowed and sometimes soured by a tragic lack of self-esteem. As Hilary Spurling writes in her opening paragraph, ‘Sonia Orwell baffled people in her lifetime and afterwards’, and this account of the great wrong that was posthumously done to her reputation ‘is a story about how story-tellers themselves – gossips, fantasists, mythmakers, biographers – can twist and distort the pattern of a life’.
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'Unlike much that was extracted from India, these paintings were not plunder, and those who created them were properly remunerated and often received due credit.'
@PParkerWriting on 'Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company'.
‘"I feel", Lowell told Hardwick ... "as if I were pulled apart and thinning into mist, or rather being torn apart and still preferring that state to making a decision."'
Richard Davenport-Hines on the letters of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick.
'To me, Elmore Leonard is as comforting in extremity as Pym, and as safe, in the last resort, as Wodehouse. The guys with the best lines are going to come out the other side; the dumb fucks are going to get it in the head or chest.'