The Knox Brothers Paperback – 31 Oct 2013
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‘Reading a Penelope Fitzgerald novel is like being taken for a ride in a peculiar kind of car. Everything is of top quality – the engine, the coachwork and the interior all fill you with confidence. Then, after a mile or so, someone throws the steering-wheel out of the window.’ Sebastian Faulks
‘Wise and ironic, funny and humane, Fitzgerald is a wonderful, wonderful writer.’ David Nicholls
‘A portrait of English intelligence, religion, eccentricity, pig-headedness and wisdom, written with directness and wit.’ A.S. Byatt
‘A funny, tender, clever book. A study in a lost civilisation…destined to become a 20th century classic.’ Richard Holmes
About the Author
Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most elegant and distinctive voices in British fiction. Three of her novels, The Bookshop, The Beginning of Spring and The Gate of Angels have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She won the Prize in 1979 for Offshore. Her last novel, The Blue Flower, was the most admired novel of 1995, chosen no fewer than nineteen times in the press as the ‘Book of the Year’. It won America’s National Book Critics’ Circle Award. She died in April 2000, at the age of eighty-three.
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Top Customer Reviews
For those that believe Genetics play a role in the hereditary talent of later generations, this book certainly will reinforce that view. Whether when reviewing her Father's life, or that of his 3 brothers, all these men were exceptional in there own manner. There were characteristics they held in common; amongst them were brilliant wits, and integrity. The latter trait would seem redundant, or perhaps should be one we hope someday will be, for all men like her Uncle Wilfred and her Uncle Ronald. Both of these men were Priests, but even here these Brothers maintained their own identities. Wilfred was an Anglo-Catholic Priest, and his Brother was a Priest of The Roman Catholic Church. The History of these men's lives are all of great interest, however the differences in the Religious Denominations, at first so similar to the ear, and then so different theologically, provided some of the more interesting aspects of the book.
Father Ronald went beyond the normal duties of his calling, and expanded his talents not only into journalism, but I believe rather unusually as an Author of Detective Novels. All this was in addition to being The Chaplain At Oxford, and a man who translated a revised form of The New Testament, so that so many more could enjoy the writings.
For readers familiar with World War II, the word Enigma has a meaning in excess of the dictionary definition.Read more ›
A well-written group biography which throws light on life in England in the first half of the 20 century. cannot fail to be interesting. A paperback of 288 pages, it has an excellent index, and a family tree of the Knox family that you keep referring to..
"The Knox Brothers" are the father and three uncles of Penelope Fitzgerald (nee Knox). Born into a late Victorian middle-class literary and religious elite (though far from secure or well-off in material terms), these boys were all exceptionally clever and, fortunately, well-educated. Two went to Eton, two to Harrow, two went to Oxford, two to Cambridge. Two of their grandfathers were bishops, and Penelope herself was born in the Bishop's Palace at Lincoln in the middle of the First World War.
The First and Second World Wars were markers in their lives, and religion was of primary importance to the youngest two, Wilfred and Ronnie. Ronnie became a Catholic, Wilfred dithered and teetered. Neither of these two married.
The author's father, the eldest brother, was perhaps the most successful in worldly terms, being editor of "Punch" for many years. The second brother, Dillwyn, was instrumental in cracking the Enigma code at Bletchley Park but died before the end of the Second World War. Edmund and Dillwyn married, but tragedy abounded. Edmund's first wife, Penelope's mother, died early, marking him, as had the death of his own mother when he was a boy. He did marry again, though, to the daughter of the illustrator E.H. Shepard.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderfully original approach to biography a very amusing and touching read highly recommended.Published 3 months ago by Archie
Cannot praise highly enough: interesting, witty, insightful (is there such a word?).Published 19 months ago by Happy feet
Very entertaining story of the growing up of these extraordinary and variously gifted brothers. The portrait of an era.Published 23 months ago by E Christenfeld