The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen - Winner of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize (Hardback)
  • The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen - Winner of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize (Hardback)
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The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen - Winner of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize (Hardback)

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£16.99
Hardback 384 Pages / Published: 25/02/2021
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The critically acclaimed biography with never-before-seen letters detailing Elizabeth Bowen's illicit affair For readers who were swept up in Laura Cumming's On Chapel Sands, Daniel Mendelsohn's An Odyssey and Francesca Wade's Square Haunting.

A death in the family delivers Julia Parry a box of love letters. Dusty with age, they reveal an illicit affair between the celebrated Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen and the academic Humphry House - Julia's grandfather.

So begins a lifechanging quest to understand this affair, which had profound repercussions for Julia's family, not least her grandmother, Madeline. Drawing on the trove of hitherto unpublished correspondence, Julia traces these three very different characters through some of the most dramatic decades of the twentieth century: from 1930s Oxford and the Anglo-Irish Big House, to Texas, to the last days of Empire in India and on into WWII. Crafting a tale spiced with social history and a celebrated supporting cast that includes Isaiah Berlin and Virginia Woolf, Parry opens up a lost world, one with complex and often surprising attitudes to love and sex, work and home, duty and ambition, and to writing itself.

Publisher: Duckworth Books
ISBN: 9780715653579
Number of pages: 384
Dimensions: 216 x 135 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'It's very epistolary and very beautiful, particularly with Bowen's letters which are astonishingly beautiful, complex and intense. It's like reading one of Elizabeth Bowen's great novels' - RSL CHRISTOPHER BLAND PRIZE


'A fascinating and moving portrait of love, loyalty and infidelity.' - SARAH WATERS


'Marvellous, gently elegiac, beautifully written, and fascinating.' - JOHN BANVILLE, NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS


'Bowen fans will be in her debt.' - PETER J. CONRADI


'As literary discoveries go, it's a big one.' - SUNDAY TIMES


'An essay of rare sensitivity and intelligent reflection.' - TELEGRAPH


'Fascinating and poetic.' - IRISH TIMES


'A judicious moment-by-moment account of these complicated characters.' - SPECTATOR

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“More memoir than biography”

I would say this is more memoir than biography as the author is constantly present, talking about her family, her journeys, her (rather superficial) unpackings of Bowen's novels, relating them back to her... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 9

“A writer, a lover and a wife in a challenging relationship”

The power of writing, in particular letters, is at the heart of this very readable book. The author’s maternal grandfather, Humphry House, had a long term and variable relationship with the well known writer,... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 5

“Interesting insight”

I read this book courtesy of NetGalley. An interesting book about the renowned novelist Elizabeth Bowen mainly constructed around letters subsequently discovered by the author's family. The author is not... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 4

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