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The Unspoken Truth [Hardcover]

Angelica Garnett
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 18.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

14 Jan 2010

Real life and fiction meet as Angelica Garnett vividly evokes what it is to grow up in the shadow of artists. Her family appear in different guises in the stories, but at the centre of each one is Garnett herself. She is naïve and foolish as Bettina, desperately seeking acceptance into the grown-ups circle ('When All the Leaves Were Green, My Love'); shy and cautious, but finally disloyal, as Agnes ('Aurore'); a hesitant, uncomfortable Emily ('The Birthday Party'); and a contemplative, even witty older woman, full of appetite and guilt, as Helen ('Friendship'). Spanning an entire life, each story reveals a figure trying to understand her place not only within the polished circle of her family, but in an ever-changing world.

Sharply observing a colourful social milieu and the vibrant characters that populate it, these are stories about family and friendships, yet also curdled relationships and small betrayals. A fictional counterpoint to her acclaimed memoir, Deceived with Kindness, here is a portrait of a woman seeking an understanding and acceptance of her past.

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The Unspoken Truth + Deceived With Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood + Charleston: A Bloomsbury House and Gardens
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; First Edition edition (14 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701184353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701184353
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 484,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'engagingly honest' --The Times

'the work of a writer with very distinctive gifts' --Daily Telegraph

`Both fascinating and disconcerting, as [Garnett] gives the kaleidoscope of her memory another twist... precise and dazzlingly effective.' --Literary Review

`Beautifully written... enjoyable and accomplished'. -- Country Life

`Garnett has found her own voice, her own artistic expression - and a way of gaining power over them'.
--The Irish Times

'the whole book is distinguished by writing of great subtlety, whose precisely caught images and observations surprise and delight' --The Independent, February 2010

'the whole book is distinguished by writing of great subtlety, whose precisely caught images and observations surprise and delight --The Independent, February 2010

`Interesting and intriguing' --The Lady

Book Description

The Unspoken Truth is an intense, delicate and evocative quartet of autobiographical stories by one of Bloomsbury's inner circle, and one of its last survivors, the daughter of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complements her autobiography 14 Mar 2011
You know that disclaimer often put at the beginning of films or novels, 'The plot and characters in this work are fictional, and any relation to actual people alive or dead is coincidental'? Well, perhaps wisely, Chatto & Windus haven't used that at the beginning of Angelica Garnett's new book The Unspoken Truth: A Quartet of Bloomsbury Stories. As Vanessa Bell's daughter she has a unique and invaluable viewpoint on the Bloomsbury group - one which sees them all as people as well as icons. 26 years after publishing her autobiography, and over ninety years old, Garnett is back with a book marketed as fiction, but just as clearly based in her experiences growing up.

Which, of course, is no bad thing - Garnett had such a fascinating childhood. We get unexpected glances on the legacy of her parents, throughout all the stories - 'It may seem strange that, brought up in an eminently intellectual atmosphere, I learned only how to feel and not to think.' These stories are roughly chronological, covering different sections of Garnett's life. The first is called 'When All The Leaves Were Green...' has Bettina as the heroine, and looks at growing up in a bohemian, artistic household, without any companion of Bettina's own age. It's a great depiction of Charleston, through the lens of fiction. I love this first excerpt, which brings across the vivid quality of living amongst those who sought beauty so avidly, and lived so vibrantly. It also shows how this feeling for beauty has found its way into Garnett's writing style. The second excerpt shows more the confusion and isolation which a young child can feel amongst bohemian adults.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloomsbury blushes : an old lady's tale 18 April 2013
By David Spanswick VINE VOICE
This quartet, three slight, one novella refreshes the delirium that was Bloomsbury, that mythical land of liberal and inventive artists living a dream in gardens beneath shaded trees, in Parisian garrets, loving and behaving like none before.

Angelica's memories are in tune with the times and though she helps along the mythology grown up around this "privileged" lot she can only add to its charm and nostalgia. We shall not see the like of them again and these little pieces are tantalisingly brief, the novella rich in language and desire.

A lovely find and highly recommended
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2 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Unvarnished worst book I've ever read 19 Feb 2010
Ms Garnett"s attempt to hide her "stories" behind fiction fails miserably, since anyone familiar with Bloomsbury is able to identify
the characters. She has already told us how she thought of her mother (Vanessa Bell) and her father(Duncan Grant) in her book"Deceived with Kindness" This is really just a rehash of the first book she wrote. At 91 "Let it go,Angelica"
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