Blending memories and family myths, Mary McCarthy takes us back to the twenties, when she was orphaned in a world of relations as colourful, potent and mysterious as the Catholic religion. There were her grandmothers: one was a blood-curdling Catholic who combined piousness and pugnacity; the other was Jewish and wore a veil to hide the disastrous effects of a face-lift. There was wicked Uncle Myers who beat her for the good of her soul and Aunt Margaret who laced her orange juice with castor oil and taped her lips at night to prevent unhealthy 'mouth-breathing'. 'Many a time in the course of doing these memoirs,' Mary McCarthy says, 'I have wished that I were writing fiction.' But these were the people, along with the ladies of the Sacred Heart convent school, who helped to inspire her devastating sense of the sublime and ridiculous and her witty, novelist's imagination.
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Mary McCarthy was a well-known novelist, critic, journalist and memoirist. She was born in Seattle, of mixed Catholic, Protestant and Jewish descent. She died in October 1989.Review:
A perhaps misleadingly restrictive title for a folio of some eight autobiographical pieces dealing with Mary McCarthy's past when as the eldest of "poor Roy's children"- her parents died during the influenza epidemic of 1918- she shuttled between two sets of grandparents and three religions- Catholic, Protestant and Jewish. Under the monitory supervision of the Catholic McCarthys in Minneapolis, the four young ones were turned over to a blood relative, Aunt Margaret- a "well-aged quince of 45" whose regimen of prunes and parsnips, no toys or books was supplemented by the capricious brutality of her husband Myers. Removed by "the Protestants", her grandfather Preston and his Jewish wife, to Scattle, there followed a period of quieter discipline in a Catholic convent where she lost her faith; the transfer to an Episcopalian boarding school and infractions of another nature; a summer in Montana and her introduction to whisky under the tutelage of a married druggist; and the pieces conclude with an unforgettable portrait of her grandmother Augusta Morgenstern and the elaborate ritual of her days.... Time has not dulled the sharpness of the image and incident here, and the portraiture has an exceptional definition to which the polished prose- there is never a flubbed phrase- is certainly contributory. There is also a warmth, and an often gamine charm, absent from her fiction, which may attract others beyond her anticipated audience (although Catholic readers have already been aroused on the initial publication of these pieces.) (Kirkus Reviews)
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd 01/03/1975, 1975. Book Condition: used-good. Will be shipped promptly from UK warehouse. Book is in good condition with no missing pages, no damage or soiling and tight spine. There may be some dog-eared pages showing previous use but overall a great book. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780140019384
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd 01/03/1975, 1975. Book Condition: Good. This book is in good or better condition. It has no tears to the pages and no pages will be missing from the book. The spine of the book is still in great condition and the front cover is generally unmarked. It has signs of previous use but overall is in really nice, tight condition. Shipping is normally same day from our UK warehouse. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780140019384
Book Description Penguin Books, 1976. Book Condition: Fair. This is an ex-library book and may have the usual library/used-book markings inside.This book has soft covers. In fair condition, suitable as a study copy. Bookseller Inventory # 4458255
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Book Description Penguin Books, London, 1975. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. Reprint. Mary McCarthy's autobiography. This paperback is in very good condition, dated 1975. Bookseller Inventory # 047259
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd 01/03/1975, 1975. Book Condition: used-good. Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in very good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. Bookseller Inventory # 6545-9780140019384
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Book Description PENGUIN BOOKS LTD. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Book shows minor use. Cover and Binding have minimal wear, and the pages have only minimal creases. Bookseller Inventory # G0140019383I3N00
Book Description PENGUIN BOOKS LTD. Paperback. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # G0140019383I5N00