Katie Roiphe explores the unconventional relationships between renowned writers and artists - a fascinating combination of high-society gossip and historical enquiry.
Drawing on the memoirs, letters and diaries of a group of British intellectuals writing between 1910 and the Second World War, UNCOMMON ARRANGEMENTS paints a witty and insightful portrait of seven 'marriages a la mode', each triumphantly casting off Victorian inhibitions and pursuing bohemian ideals of freedom and equality.
But as well as love and passion, there were tolerance, denial, anger, jealousy and drama. The Bloomsbury group's Clive and Vanessa Bell opened up their marriage to accommodate Vanessa's live-in lovers, and Clive's obsession with his sister-in-law, Virginia Woolf. H.G. Well's steadfast wife sent her love to his mistress Rebecca West when their son was born. And Vera Brittain and Katherine Mansfield, more devoted to their work than to their husbands, wrestled with unfulfilled desires.
This is both a fascinating exploration of love, affection and friendship in marriage, and a brilliantly entertaining account of a dazzling era of high-society high living.
Roiphe tries to unravel the complex ties that kept these couples together. She does so with great perception and a kind of critical sympathy - Herald Sun
Here's the perfect bedside book for an age like our own, when everything is known and nothing is understood. Roiphe takes the prism of the past and turns high gossip into cultural insight... At the end of her book we feel we know these couples as intimately as if we were part of their circle - Tina Brown, NEW YORK TIME BOOK REVIEW
Elegantly written...Roiphe has a sharp way with a phase...[an] artful selection of quotes - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Roiphe works her way "inside" each marriage...UNCOMMON ARRANGEMENTS will teach you many things, none of them comfortable - LITERARY REVIEW