The Shadowy Third

The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen – Winner of the RSL Christopher Bland Prize

Non-Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Literary Biography & Memoir
Hardback Published on: 25/02/2021
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The critically acclaimed biography with never-before-seen letters detailing Elizabeth Bowen's illicit affair For readers who were swept up in Laura Cumming's On Chapel Sands, Daniel Mendelsohn's An Odyssey and Francesca Wade's Square Haunting.

A death in the family delivers Julia Parry a box of love letters. Dusty with age, they reveal an illicit affair between the celebrated Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen and the academic Humphry House - Julia's grandfather.

So begins a lifechanging quest to understand this affair, which had profound repercussions for Julia's family, not least her grandmother, Madeline. Drawing on the trove of hitherto unpublished correspondence, Julia traces these three very different characters through some of the most dramatic decades of the twentieth century: from 1930s Oxford and the Anglo-Irish Big House, to Texas, to the last days of Empire in India and on into WWII. Crafting a tale spiced with social history and a celebrated supporting cast that includes Isaiah Berlin and Virginia Woolf, Parry opens up a lost world, one with complex and often surprising attitudes to love and sex, work and home, duty and ambition, and to writing itself.

  • Publisher: Duckworth Books
  • ISBN: 9780715653579
  • Number of pages: 384
  • Dimensions: 216 x 135 mm

Customer Reviews

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The Shadowy Third
More memoir than biography
I would say this is more memoir than biography as the author is constantly present, talking about her family, her journeys, her (rather superficial) unpack... READ MORE
Roman Clodia
The Shadowy Third
Interesting insight
I read this book courtesy of NetGalley. An interesting book about the renowned novelist Elizabeth Bowen mainly constructed around letters subsequently dis... READ MORE
Grey Lady
The Shadowy Third
A writer, a lover and a wife in a challenging relationship
The power of writing, in particular letters, is at the heart of this very readable book. The author’s maternal grandfather, Humphry House, had a long term ... READ MORE