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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'After all, who knows what anybody is really like, or what they really think? The biographer – same as a painter of portraits – cannot help but reproduce himself to some degree.'
From the archive: Beryl Bainbridge talks to Sebastian Shakespeare.
"fascinating piece of writing ...unexpectedly gripping read...The #RedCircleMinis are a really wonderful initiative; every one I’ve read has been so different and so good... #OneLoveChigusa is an excellent addition to the series! “Thank you @kaggsy59 🙂 https://bit.ly/2ZIdeqL
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