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The Knox Brothers Paperback – 31 Oct 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New Ed edition (31 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007118309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007118304
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 311,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘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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Format: Paperback
Penelope Fitzgerald produced some of the finest short novels written. Before she started her career as a novelist she wrote these collected biographies of her father and his 3 brothers in 1977. It seems appropriate that this collection of familial histories was updated and placed in its final form by Ms. Fitzgerald shortly before her death.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the story of 4 gifted brothers, famous in their day, told by the novelist daughter of one of them. Her father was Edmund Knox, editor of Punch. Her youngest uncle was Monsignor Ronald Knox. Another was Alfred Knox, a skilled code-breaker who served in the two world wars, He was at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. Finally there was Wilfred, a zealous Anglican priest who worked in the East End of London, and was a dedicated socialist.Not least interesting is the information on life in Bletchley Par not involving computers.Monsignor Knox's great work, a translation of the Bible into modern English was widely used in the post-War period, but went out of favour when translations from the original Hebrew and Greek were required.

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..
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this following the biography of Penelope Fitzgerald by Hermione Lee. I found it a fascinating insight, like the biography of the thoughts and ideas of the early 20th century. Interesting to read the author again after a long time.
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I came upon this book after a friend lent me her copy of "The Bookshop" (short, sweet Booker Prizewinner). My friend then recommended the new biography of Penelope Fitzgerald by Hermione Lee. This is what real friends are good at, understanding and showing one something new and worthwhile. The biography refers extensively in its source notes to this book, which led me to buy it.

"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.
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The recipient was very pleased with this book - he didnt knbow he wanted to read it until he did!
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