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Description - Shared Lives by Lyndall Gordon

Lyndall Gordon, the acclaimed biographer of T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf, grew up in Cape Town, South Africa in the 1950s. This intimate and moving memoir is the story of Rosie, Ellie, and Romy- her closest friends from childhood until their early deaths. Daughters of Jewish immigrants, these girls grew into adulthood together, shaped by their parents' and grandparents' Eastern European heritages, the stifling atmosphere of their proper girls' school, South Africa's politics, and the intense pressure within their bourgeois milieu for early marriage. Though miles distanced them as they grew older and went off to New York, Oxford and Paris, their bonds of friendship remained strong, separated only by their untimely deaths.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781844081431
ISBN-10: 1844081435
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 126mm x 23mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 20-Jan-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Shared Lives by Lyndall Gordon

UK Kirkus Review » Lyndall Gordon grew up in South Africa before studying at Columbia University and then becoming a respected lecturer at St Hilda's College, Oxford. She is an award-winning biographer of, amongst others, Virginia Woolf, Henry James, T. S. Eliot and, recently, Mary Wollstonecraft. Her expertise as a Research Fellow at Oxford is put to good use in what could otherwise have been a mundane story of four friends growing up together in 1950's Capetown; Gordon has carefully discovered the family history of each of her beloved friends, adding colour, depth and intrigue to their individual histories. Gordon has an honest, self-deprecating style of writing - she always portrays herself as the unfashionable, impressionable and untalented pal of three gorgeous, charismatic girlfriends: 'Plainness, if nothing else, absolved me from the early struggle to look right, but Flora and others, Rosie and Ellie, took up the business with ironic dedication'. She watches from the sidelines, as her friends look 'smugly mature in padded bras hitched to the highest tilt that straps would allow'. Gordon lost all of these friends in tragic circumstances and is the only survivor of the four. Her unique skills as a writer of memoir and biography shine through, in this touching autobiography, originally conceived in 1988 and now reprinted. 'Shared Lives' is both a tribute to lost friendships and a testament to the author's commitment as a writer.(Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Lyndall Gordon

Lyndall Gordon is the prizewinning author of biographies including CHARLOTTE BRONTE, VIRGINIA WOOLF, SHARED LIVES and MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT. Born and raised in South Africa, Lyndall is a fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford.

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