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Amateurs In Eden: The Story of a Bohemian Marriage: Nancy and Lawrence Durrell

Joanna Hodgkin

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

The story of Lawrence Durrell and his enigmatic first wife, Nancy: love, betrayal and literary endeavour set among the glittering intellectuals of 1930s London, Paris and Corfu.

Nancy Durrell was a woman famous for her silences. Anais Nin said 'I think often of Nancy's most eloquent silences, Nancy talking with her fingers, her hair, her cheeks, a wonderful gift. Music again.' As the first wife Lawrence Durrell, author of The Alexandria Quartet, it is perhaps surprising that she is an unknown entity, a constant presence in the biographies of Durrell and others in the Bloomsbury set, yet always a shadowy figure, beautiful and enigmatic.

But who was the woman who was with Durrell during the most important years of his development as a writer Joanna Hodgkin decides to retrace her mother's fascinating story: the escape from her toxic and mysterious family; the years in bohemian literary London and Paris in the 1930s; marriage to Durrell and their discovery of the 'Eden' of pre-war Corfu and her desperate struggle to survive in Palestine alone with a small child as the British Mandate collapsed. Amateurs in Eden is a fascinating biography of a literary marriage and of an unusual woman struggling to live an independent life.

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Praise for Amateurs In Eden: The Story of a Bohemian Marriage: Nancy and Lawrence Durrell

  • Frank and captivating . . . rich in charm and pathos . . . Hodgkin has done both Nancy and herself proud with this fresh portrait of a marriage we thought we knew, and of a woman we have never known well enough - Sunday Times - Miranda Seymour

  • It's a cracking story, and Hodgkin is a meticulous researcher - Observer - Olivia Laing

  • The animating spirit that pulses through this joint biography is to be thoroughly applauded - Literary Review - D.J Taylor

  • This is not just a memoir of her mother. This is the history of a literary wife. On both counts, Hodgkin succeeds beautifully . . . Her story is not a footnote; it is absolutely central - Independent

  • A truly fascinating account of one of those many women, the wives and the girlfriends and the sisters of famous literary men, who have lived a twilight existence in the shadows of the historical canon. A particularly rich and honest account - Scotland on Sunday

  • An enjoyable, revisionist account of a bohemian marriage - Guardian - Blake Morrison

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Joanna Hodgkin

Joanna Hodgkin has written several successful psychologial thrillers under another name.

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