Read Deceived With Kindness by Angelica Garnett Online

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Angelica Garnett may truly be called a child of Bloomsbury. Her Aunt was Virginia Woolf, her mother Vanessa Bell, and her father Duncan Grant, though for many years Angelica believed herself, naturally enough, the daughter of Vanessa's husband Clive.Her childhood homes, Charleston in Sussex and Gordon Square in London, were both centres of Bloomsbury activity, and she grewAngelica Garnett may truly be called a child of Bloomsbury. Her Aunt was Virginia Woolf, her mother Vanessa Bell, and her father Duncan Grant, though for many years Angelica believed herself, naturally enough, the daughter of Vanessa's husband Clive.Her childhood homes, Charleston in Sussex and Gordon Square in London, were both centres of Bloomsbury activity, and she grew up surrounded by the most talked-about writers and artists of the day - Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry, the Stracheys, Maynard Keynes, David Garnett (whom she later married), and many others.But Deceived with Kindness is also a record of a young girl's particular struggle to achieve independence from that extraordinary and intense milieu as a mature and independent woman. With an honesty that is by degrees agonising and uplifting, the author creates a vibrant, poignant picture of her mother, Vanessa Bell, of her own emergent individuality, and of the Bloomsbury era....

Title : Deceived With Kindness
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ISBN : 9780712662666
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Deceived With Kindness Reviews

  • Beth Bonini
    2018-12-03 08:48

    Initially, I rated this book three stars, but I have revised it upwards to four stars on my second reading.A well-written, compelling book . . . and yet.Angelica Garnett describes Bloomsbury and Charleston from an insider's point of view, and yet I felt that the story had such a strong personal slant -- that I was none the wiser about what Duncan Grant or Vanessa Bell (the writer's parents) were really like. She doesn't whine exactly, and you couldn't say she was self-pitying, and yet there is still the strong sense of damage . . .and of an emotional axe to grind. It feels like you are looking through a very small and distorted keyhole.Reread at the beginning of May 2016.It's always interesting to reread a book. I reread this one in anticipation of my first visit to Charleston - the home that Angelica Garnett was raised in along with Vanessa Bell (her mother), Clive Bell (her putative father), Duncan Grant (her biological father) and her older half-brothers Julian and Quentin. Angelica describes a childhood that was charmed in many ways: she was the little doted-upon princess at the heart of an artistic and literary world. But she suffered from unusual privations, too. Her education was erratic; she was both spoiled and smothered; and the secret of her real father was kept from her until she was 18. In her words, instead of having two fathers it felt more that she had none. Even worse, in my opinion, she ended up marrying David 'Bunny' Garnett when she was 21 and he was 48. He had been her father's lover for several years, and had also had a complicated emotional relationship with her mother. Without understanding the context of the Bloomsbury values, it is difficult to understand how such a marriage ever occurred - but it did, and Angelica finally broke away from it after 25 years of marriage. She has written this memoir in middle age, at a period of time when she is really coming to terms with her childhood ghosts and the complex psycho-drama of her life. Despite the fine writing, and sometimes tender reminiscences, a tone of bitterness often breaks through.I'm not sure why, but on second reading, I definitely felt more compassion for the author - and more admiration for the spirit of her project.

  • Stuart Macalpine
    2018-11-21 02:34

    At home with the Bloomsbury Group, and slightly limited by a child's perspective, the memoir is useful ground work for exploring Bloomsbury texts and art. Duncan Grant comes out well - and as I lived next to his childhood holiday home, between Aviemore and Kincraig in Scotland - then I obviously found it a pleasure. The Grant family themselves are fascinating - everything from 'Memoirs of a Highland Lady' to Grant's Whiskey made by the other half of the family who founded Granton-On-Spey.Having read Mr. Garnett's Lady into Fox, and Woolf's Orlando in which Angelica appears as the photo of the Russian Princess 'Sasha' who is described as a 'fox', you can't help noticing that something utterly bizarre happened at Angelica's birth.... it goes something like this...'Bunny' Garnett was the homosexual lover of Duncan Grant. Duncan Grant had a sexual liaison with Vanessa Bell, who was married to his friend Clive Bell. When the child was born, apparently, Bunny declared he would marry her when she was an adult. When Angelica was 7, Bunny wrote a book about a wife changing into a fox, having an illegitimate child with another fox, and calling it Angelica; the husband then 'loves' the baby fox instead.If that isn't weird enough, Virginia Woolf, when she modeled Sasha on the child Angelica in 1928 when Angelica was 10, calls Sasha a Russian 'fox' in the text of Orlando. She must have read Garnett's book and understood the reference.Then... Bunny (rabbit hunted by foxes) did go and marry Angelica when she emerged from her teens. If this happened in more recent terms, then phrases like 'taken into care' and '10 to 15 years' would come to mind. They were a crazy lot those Bloomsbury types.

  • Alexa.elam
    2018-11-17 06:45

    Written after years of psychotherapy, and after discovering that her husband had once been her father's lover, this is an interesting book, though I do not highly reccommend it. I think my own interest in the book stems from the fact that I have read so much about her family and their coterie-- for avid Bloomsburyist only.

  • Sylvie
    2018-12-02 01:52

    This is memoir as exorcism. “...it represents nothing so much as an emergence from the dark into the light.” EpilogueAngelica Garnett spent seven years writing this memoir, working through the emotions of her childhood and subsequent marriage, in the hope of extricating herself from their strong grip. Some novelists find writing about loss or the story of a parent therapeutic, which does not always work. In Angelica’s case, she reveals feelings and failings, good and bad, in a remarkably candid and perceptive way. She does not spare herself. Some may call it self pity, and indeed she acknowledges the existence of the Stephens gene of self pity. I call it facing reality as she saw it – a tool for survival in her case, though unfortunately her aunt Virginia did not get rid of her demons. Virginia saw life as it was in the raw, and her vision was exacerbated by the war and her nephew Julian's death. Read about Septimus in Mrs Dalloway.As is well known, Virginia put stones in her pockets and walked into the river. Here is what Angelica writes:“Leonard, white from exhaustion, though as always objective and dispassionate, sat in the drawing room and told us how they had found her body in the river that Juliian had loved and where I could remember a dolphin that had once tempted Virginia down to the bank to stand beside us, watching its strange and lovely antics.”Angelica never forgot her aunt's intense response to the natural world.Angelica managed to order and resurrect her complex thoughts in the face of the tangled relationships of her parents and their entourage. It makes me almost understand why people in society feel the need for taboos and rules, and why they impose them. It does away with, or at least contains, the messiness of love and sex.Her mother Vanessa she considered already old. Later came the shock of being told that Duncan Grant was her father, not Clive Bell, Vanessa’s husband.. Duncan was already in the ménage à trois, and Vanessa had long ceased to be sexually attracted to Clive. Clive was a womaniser, as was Duncan. Weren’t they all? Bunny Garnett, too, a friend of the family, whom Angelica married when she was just 19. She had four children before she finally left him. He was considerably older, a father figure who tried to mould her according to his needs. She learnt he had been her father Duncan’s lover, and had also once made advances to Vanessa, which she had rejected. All these emotions, jealousy, love rivalry went into the mix. It was interesting for me in many ways. She is a shrewd and fair judge of character. The portraits of Leonard Woolf, the Stracheys, Roger Fry and everyone she gets to know are vivid, and tie in with what we have learnt from other sources. She recalls incidents and her surroundings, even those from an early age. Virginia gave Angelica an allowance, which she often forgot to bring with her:“...(she) had to ask Leonard to pay me by cheque. It was a little like extracting water from a stone.. Although Leonard did not protest, he went through the process of finding and putting on spectacles, which made him look like a nanging judge, plunging his hand into some inner pocket to draw out his cheque book, then his pen, from which he uscrewed the cap with some difficulty, and finally writing and signing the cheque with a trembling hand in complete silence – all of which seemed a test of endurance. In the end he handed it over to me with a half smile, like the flash of a needle under water. “ During the winter of the war, Angelica meets a young German, Eribert and invites him to her birthday party. Bunny treats her to an outburst of devastating jealousy. At the party, Eribert must have been totally bewildered by that unconventional household in a strange country with hardly any knowledge of the language:“he found himself in a situation rather like that of Le Grand Meaulnes, in a remote farmhouse full of people of all ages in evening dress, intimate and familiar, related to one another in ways that to him were a mystery. People’s manners were free and easy, they were out to enjoy themselves, there was a defiant abundance of food and drink, and afterwards music and dancing. Every time Clive addressed Eribert, he rose to his feet, clicked heels together and saluted.”I have long been and still am an admirer of Virginia Woolf. I absolutely loved Charleston farmhouse when I visited it many years ago. Angelica’s writing recalls a lost world, albeit a disturbing one when viewed more closely. Art and painting were paramount in their lives, writing, in Virginia’s case. The demands of sex, of life itself were resisted and indulged equally, creating tensions. For me, the tangle of emotions, the messiness, Vanessa's laisser-faire, Virginia’s astute and perceptivel observations (thought by some to be cruel), are not as important as the works the gifted sisters produced. Reading about their lives does not detract from the paintings, the wonderful Charleston, the novels. I dislike it when they are all lumped together and labelled as “Bloomsbury”, as if it’s a term of abuse. They had to belong somewhere, just like everybody else; they had to have friends and a way of life. That way of life damaged Angelica, yet who knows if she might not have suffered equally under a less relaxed, less indulgent regimen. In any case, she survived emotionally to recreate compassionate portraits and a milieu that still fascinates..

  • Marie Eriksson
    2018-11-28 01:49

    Författaren var dotter till målarna Vanessa Bell och Duncan Grant, så mycket intressant om Bloomsburygruppen. Hade jag läst den innan jag såg tv-serien Life in Squares hade jag nog uppskattat serien mer. #jagnärmarmigvirginiawoolf

  • Marica
    2018-12-08 05:49

    Un vialetto di ghiaia nelle scarpeNon è il tipo di libro che avrei letto, perché le vite degli artisti sono spesso deludenti rispetto alle opere e l’autrice è nipote di Virginia Woolf. L’ho letto perché me l’ha messo in mano un’amica e comunque è risultato piacevole, venato di colori e di un involontario umorismo. La protagonista non ha avuto una vita felice e come molti, in questi casi, va a cercarne le ragioni fuori da sé, in particolare le attribuisce alla madre. La madre Vanessa Bell era una pittrice post-impressionista, le cui opere sono nei principali musei londinesi. Qualche volta il libro, con le dovute differenze, ricorda Beautiful: la madre le ha nascosto chi era il padre biologico, non Clive ma Duncan. Non per biechi motivi di interesse, ma per non dare un dispiacere ai suoceri. Non cambiava molto, tanto sia Clive che Duncan erano sempre fra i piedi e in campagna c’era posto per tutti. Però si sentiva in colpa e quindi l’ha allevata con la massima dolcezza, sottraendola a ogni confronto stressante, impedendole così di sviluppare la propria personalità. Probabilmente vero, tuttavia l’amatissimo fratello Julian è morto nella guerra di Spagna e la zia Virginia gestiva una casa editrice e ha scritto, fra le altre opere, Una stanza tutta per sé; il fratello Quentin è stato un brillante critico letterario e scrittore divertentissimo. Il sospetto di una scarsa intraprendenza e di una tendenza all’autocommiserazione si presenta, fra un tè e una fetta d’arrosto. La mamma era possessiva e non incoraggiava i suoi studi: però fra le righe le faceva studiare francese e italiano, violino e pianoforte, inoltre pittura e letteratura erano l’argomento della vita quotidiana. La colpa più grossa, non averle impedito di sposare Bunny, che era stato amante di entrambi i genitori, Vanessa e Duncan e presente alla nascita. Anche con Bunny, grossi contrasti, poiché aveva approfittato della sua giovane età e l’aveva schiacciata col suo sentimentalismo. La madre invece aveva difficoltà a esprimere i suoi sentimenti, il padre biologico era infantile, quello nominale sarebbe stato valido ma artisticamente non all’altezza. La zia Virginia era bisognosa d’affetto, brillante da oscurare il faro del libro omonimo, vicina, trasandata, regale, generosa, un po’ pazza ma senza disturbare, non lei almeno. Lo zio Leonard era ebreo ma puritano, severo, di onestà cristallina.Si potrebbe intitolare anche “Poteva andare peggio” o “Autobiografia di un’ingrata smidollata”. Sono di parte, lo so.

  • Hella
    2018-12-05 02:45

    Dentro il Bloomsbury Group, a contatto con Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf e tutti gli affascinanti personaggi intorno a loro... un sogno per me.Angelica Garnett, figlia di Vanessa, quel sogno l'ha vissuto, e qui lo rivive e ce lo fa vivere.Memoir meraviglioso.

  • Kirsten
    2018-11-20 09:55

    A vivid picture of the Bloomsbury group from the point of view of someone raised in it from childhood (though Angelica was a casualty of her parents' dedication to art and to themselves before all else). She brings everyone to life."Of Lytton [Strachey] I remember little--he was for me hardly more than a pair of dark brown eyes magnified by glasses, kindly, but so intensely reflective that communication was almost out of the question.""Virginia poured out tea, not as Vanessa did, with a careful, steady hand, but waving the teapot to and fro as she talked, to emphasize her meaning."And this from the beginning:"In the passage at Charleston I had hung some photographs of my grandmother, Julia Jackson, taken by my great-great aunt, Julia Margaret Cameron. As I looked at them I became conscious of an inheritance not only of genes but also of feelings and habits of mind which, like motes of dust spiralling downwards, settle on the most recent generation."

  • Gisela Hafezparast
    2018-11-24 03:55

    Quite disappointing. Left me with a clear dislike for the Bloomsbury lot, although I love a lot of their paintings. I live very neer Charlston and it is a beautiful place, where if you grew up there and/or where able to do what you liked best in the company of those you loved you were a very lucky person. From this book (although I came to greatly sympathise with Angelica once she found herself in the clutches of her clearly horrible husband) I came away with the feeling that at a time when most of the UK population and indeed in the world, they lived a very priviliged and life, so all the snobberies and looking down on servants, is for me, hard to take.

  • Wendy
    2018-11-12 09:32

    From a review by Tiffin on LibraryReads: "The book ... sheds light into certain corners of Virginia Woolf’s personality, Vanessa Bell and the lives of the whole Bloomsbury group. But that illumination is incidental to the real purpose of the book: a deeply introspective look by an individual at what has shaped them to be the person they have ended up being. An interesting read."

  • Belinda
    2018-11-16 04:55

    What a self absorbed woman Angelica grew up to be. Getting to old age and still bemoaning your childhood, which was bohemian but privileged, just annoyed me. I constantly felt like tracking the woman down, shaking her and saying "Grow up!"

  • teresa
    2018-11-25 03:50

    Reading as part of my interest in the Bloomsbury group, specifically Vanessa Bell, the sister of Virginia Woolf. This is a book by Vanessa's daughter.

  • Benjamin Kahn
    2018-11-23 04:41

    It feels a little harsh to read someone's life story and find it wanting, but there was a lot of this book that I found boring. Garnett spends a lot of time chronicling her youth with very detailed descriptions of the nature she encountered, childish games she played, places they visited, etc. All of this was very dull. I'm also not really that familiar with the Bloomsbury Group - the first time I ever heard of them was when I watched the movie Carrington, and I've never heard of any of them beyond Virginia Woolf, Maynard Keynes (and E. M. Forster, who is not mentioned in this book). So there might have been a layer of watching celebrities in their private lives that was lost on me by my lack of familiarity.I found the last couple of chapters the most interesting, although some of it was a little frustrating. The chapter on Bunny's courtship and marrying her was rather horrifying. Garnett never really addressed any of the issues she had with those that surrounded her. So there is a lot of regret, a lot of talk about how if she had spoken to some of the people that surrounded her, things might have been different. How she never acknowledged to Duncan that he was her real father ; that she never addressed with Clive that although he wasn't her biological father, he still occupied that place for her ; or that she and Vanessa were never able to talk about the issues that separated them. So there's a lot of regret.And she also has to then make major assumptions about people's motivations. She talks a lot about why people acted the way they did, and what they were thinking, but it's all supposition as she never had the conversations with them or their contemporaries to try to figure out what happened. So one gets the feeling that she's grasping in the dark to try to understand why things were allowed to happen the way they did. There is some interesting discussion of how she was overwhelmed by the strength of Bunny's personality, and how she found joy in her daughters but also how being so quickly thrust into the role of mother and wife stunted her development and prolonged her immaturity. There is also a great sadness here, that her life wasn't allowed to develop or take the paths it might've if she hadn't married so young, if she had been challenged or allowed to be challenged in school, if she had been given a little more guidance and discipline. A lot of regrets at paths not taken.Although I sympathize with her, and I feel badly for her, there was too much wading through days of idyllic youth for me to rate this book any higher than I did.

  • S.C. Skillman
    2018-12-11 05:00

    This is a powerful, poignant and often disturbing account of the family life and relationships of Angelica Garnett, daughter of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. I bought the book during a recent visit to Charleston, "home of the Bloomsbury group" in Sussex, where Vanessa (Virginia Woolf's sister) set up her menage a trois with Duncan Grant and David Garnett in 1916. During the early part of Angelica's story, I felt slightly uncomfortable and disturbed at Angelica's meticulous analysis and started almost to feel sorry for Vanessa, the subject of her observations. But then as her account became ever more insightful, the feeling of the reader is 'how painfully sad and intense some of this is.' This effect was heightened for me because I have so recently been in Charleston and can call to mind in vivid details the rooms in which Angelica describes certain conversations taking place. At times melancholic and mournful, this account also arouses feelings of strong anger at David Garnett's behaviour in particular, and a sense of pity at this family's inability to share their feelings or communicate important things, in time to prevent tragic life choices.

  • Jane
    2018-12-10 01:33

    I bought this whilst at Charleston Farmhouse the setting for some of this book. I wanted it to be much more exploratory of emotions and descriptively rich to match the decorative features of Charleston. There were parts that lived up to this. But other parts were little more than “What I did on my holiday” style writing. With little depth or passion. I’m sure the writing of it was very cathartic. But it didn’t add a lot to my understanding of the life that was had at Charleston. About how you grow up split between London and Sussex. About how it feels to discover that your father isn’t the man you thought he was. Or what it is like to discover that your husband was rejected as a bed-fellow for your Mother, but not by your birth Father. I wanted to feel empathy, to gain an understanding into what must have been an extraordinary childhood/adulthood.

  • Ms Tlaskal
    2018-11-14 09:50

    A very easy book to be absorbed in with hints of Laurie Lee and Gerald Durrell as she describes her protected yet extraordinary childhood in the countryside, London and abroad. Virginia Woolf was in charge of her 'clothing allowance' of 15 pounds per quarter. At the heart of it is sadness at her perceived inadequacy and her strained relationship with her mother. This book digs out the richness that was definitely there and happily, she seems to have had the last laugh by being a great mother to her own brood of children. An interesting psychological peep into the edges of the Bloomsbury world.

  • Jenya Brown
    2018-12-10 01:39

    Well written personal perspective on Vanessa Bell and her close Bloomsbury circle. However, can't get away that the personal conjecture of other people's ideas and behaviours could pass as a historical truth and creates certain (unfavourable perception) of important cultural figures on the early 20th century. If to look at the book critically, then it boils down to that our parents determine our life as Larkin's quote clearly states in the beginning.

  • Valentina
    2018-12-07 05:52

    3 and a half/4 minus

  • Marjet
    2018-11-17 02:48

    Deceived with kindness van Angelica Garnett is een auto-biografisch verhaal over haar jeugd als dochter van Vanessa Bell en Duncan Grant, de twee beroemde schilders en leden van the Bloomsbury group aan het begin van de vorige eeuw in Engeland.Tot haar achttiende wist Angelica niet beter dan dat dat Clive Bell haar vader was, Vanessa was immers met hem getrouwd en hij was de vader van haar zoons Julian en Quentin.De vrijheid van opvatting die de ouders hadden over relaties en seks, ook met seksegenoten, heeft niet altijd bijgedragen tot de openhartigheid van het uiten van gevoelens. Behalve dat iedereen op de hoogte was dat Duncan Grant Angelica's vader was, heeft Vanessa Angelica kennelijk willen beschermen, en daarmee onherstelbare schade aangericht. Toen Vanessa haar dochter de waarheid vertelde, kwam de vader-dochter relatie die Angelica meende te hebben met Clive onder grote druk te staan, net als de vriendschappelijke relatie met Duncan, die opeens haar vader bleek te zijn.Psychologisch vind ik dit een zeer boeiend gegeven, temeer omdat Angelica trouwde met de veel oudere Bunny Garnett, een intieme vriend van haar ouders en ex-lover van Duncan. In hem zocht ze een vaderfiguur, helaas mislukte dit huwelijk en beiden, Angelica en Bunny, werden diepongelukkig, hoewel ze met hem vier dochters kreeg.Angelica heeft zeven jaar over dit auto-biografisch schrijven gedaan, de psychologische ontleding van haar moeder, haar tante, Virginia Woolf en andere beroemde figuren uit die tijd zijn scherp en feilloos, ze heeft haar jeugd kunnen verwerken en afstand kunnen nemen van haar bijzondere moeder om gelukkiger te worden.

  • Wil Peters
    2018-11-23 03:39

    Interesting enough as autobiography; more interesting as painting of family life at Charleston (Vanessa & Clive Bell's farmhouse)with it's entourage including author's real father, artist Duncan Grant, her aunt, Virginia Woolf & her husband Leonard Woolf, Roger Fry, others. As a depiction of her childhood in England between the wars it is extraordinary in its detail. The author's stated purpose in writing this short work, was to exorcise her demons, namely that of her feelings of inadequacy, lack of self-confidence. These she attributes largely to the deceit of not being claimed by her real father, Duncan Grant--who never devloped a father/daughter relationship with her. Her belief that her mother, by trying to be both father & mother to her, effectively deprived her of the nurturing that she might have required. Angelica Garnett's attempts to analyze the complex relationships of these somewhat bohemian, unconventional personages who dominated her childhood (indeed she grew up to marry one of them), becomes a tedious exercise finally. She remains ambiguous about her experience, and while one wants to sympathize with her frustration with unexpressed feelings, we are reminded that this era is on the heels of the Edwardian, the Victorian, so what else might have been expected. I am left to wonder if in writing this marvelous, intimate depiction of these writers/artists who were her family & friends, if she in fact felt free of the ghosts of their inadequacies as parents & family.

  • Helen
    2018-12-06 02:32

    Liked this a little more than I was expecting to: beautifully written, especially on places (childhood homes and haunts), and good at conveying the atmosphere of her unusual upbringing. This really needs to be read in the context of a lot of other Bloomsbury stuff to make much sense. She covers the love affair between Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant (her parents), and her feelings about eventually discovering her parentage, and she talks about her father and her husband having been lovers, but she skips quite a lot too. This book is not exactly wallowing in self-pity but it certainly bears all the hallmarks of a certain sort of introspection which I associate, perhaps unfairly but partly from acquaintance, with inner North London in the late 1970s/1980s. A lot of navel- gazing and angst about minor incidents in one's childhood lie behind this, one suspects (although to be fair the Bloomsbury set-up was generally rather strange). I felt that she would have done better to stick to the childhood bit and not extend the self-analysis into her married life, even though her husband was part of her childhood too.

  • Karen-Leigh
    2018-11-21 06:57

    I really loved this book the first time I read it. In fact, when I lost my copy I went and bought it again. However, this time I read it after I read her husband's biography and found myself critical of the selfish perspective of the writer. It is a very descriptive and well written book but self absorbed and the writer blames everyone around her for her own failings in life. Her mother was possessive, her two father's never measured up to what she needed, her husband took advantage of her innocence and swept away her youth and freedom and she admits she is filled with masochistic self pity. In the end she says if she had not married him he would have been a good friend, that in leaving him she hurt him badly and he never recovered and that he never wished her ill and always supported her. She never takes responsibility for her own actions, her own choices.

  • Laura
    2018-11-23 05:41

    On the front cover of the book was a blurb from the "Observer" stating that the "Deceived With Kindness" was "passionate, lucid, risky, rash....". It was lucid, as for the other adjectives, not so much. In fact, it was distinctly lacking in passion which seemed a little odd given the subject matter. I didn't expect steamy revelations about the goings on of the Bloomsbury group whilst at home, but I did expect more emotion and depth from a memoir. Especially depth. For example, I would love to have learned more about how her relationship with Bunny Garnett, yet she tends to gloss it over. I feel like I got as much insight into the relationship from a wikipedia article I read. This is not a terrible book, it's just not terribly interesting. If you are really into all things Bloomsbury group, then you should add this to your list of must-read, but otherwise I'd give it a pass.

  • Valarie Smith
    2018-11-27 09:50

    This detailed, intimate autobiography is a must for fans who want to better understand Bloomsbury's dynamics and relationships. While I enjoyed reading it, though, it seems awash in contradictions: was Vanessa dominant and overbearing, or was she remote and unaffectionate? Did she give too much freedom or not enough? And for all this, I'm still not sure what Angelica's basic issue is with her mother. (Yes, Vanessa kept her real father a secret from her, but then, so did her father, and he isn't blamed.) Angelica just seems like a lost soul who had more freedom than she knew what to do with; I hope that, at some point, she was able to take personal responsibility for her decisions and start leading a full, true life.

  • Bettie☯
    2018-11-27 08:42

    Not this book but a series of programmes surrounding Angelica Garnett: Leslie Forbes explores how gardens have inspired artists. Angelica Garnett returns to Charleston, the Bloomsbury Set's rural HQ.Broadcast on:BBC Radio 7, 2:15pm Monday 25th January 2010

  • Kathryn
    2018-11-14 09:45

    Ok, I'm a sucker for Bloomsbury and I'm a sucker for literary auto-bios, so on those terms I fully enjoyed this one. But, the rational side of my mind is torn. On the one hand: the fantastic details to emotional monologue ratio was way off, at times venturing into the "diary entry post therapist's couch" realm.On the other hand, she convincingly and hilariously likens her aunt Virginia (yes, THE Virginia) to a giraffe.As I said: torn.

  • Marcus Johnson
    2018-12-04 07:37

    The title is apt. This book is not so much an auto-biography as it is a collection of childhood memories. Angelica Bell was well loved, albeit not well educated, in the rather bohemian family-and-friends circle she grew up in. She eventually married within this extended group, and I have the feeling this marriage--as much as the deception of her youth--shaped her to become the seemingly somewhat unhappy woman who wrote this book.

  • Ivan
    2018-11-22 07:48

    I unique perspective on the Bloomsbury Group. Garnett's mother was Vanessa Bell and her father was Duncan Grant - not Clive Bell, as she was told. She married Bunny Garnett who, as it turns out, had once been a lover of her father. These are deceptions the author references in her title. Still, the book is a loving and intimate portrait of a time and place, and of these very special people.

  • Annie Garvey
    2018-12-12 09:44

    Heartfelt, but whiny

  • Rhonda
    2018-11-26 04:36

    A lovely book, another look at the bloomsbury life from one born into its midst. Worthy of the short time it takes to read.