The second and final volume of the celebrated actress’s memoir charts her beginnings as an actress and director, her emotional gains and losses, and the births and deaths that affected her.
In her first volume (A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York, 2013), Huston focused on her childhood and her emergence as a fashion model while growing up the daughter of John Huston, the legendary director and actor. That volume had an airy superficiality that continues here, as well. The author includes myriad details about the parties she attended, the designer fashions she wore, the celebrities she hung with (Robert Duvall and Bill Murray) and the colleagues she liked (Drew Barrymore, John Cusack). This can become eye-glazing, but Huston does provide some remarkable passages. She tells about her tempestuous relationship with Ryan O’Neal (who physically abused her), her long on-and-off-and–on-again affair with Jack Nicholson (who could not, it seems, manage fidelity—though Huston also confesses to a number of her own transgressions). She fell in love with—and married—sculptor Robert Graham; the author pauses occasionally to tell us about some of his notable works. She also talks about many of her film roles, including her Oscar-winning performance (supporting actress) in Prizzi’s Honor, starring Nicholson and directed by her father. She shares some anecdotes about the casts and crews she worked with (sometimes—as in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou—she emerged with hurt feelings). But the most powerful segments concern the decline and death of her father—and, later, of her husband. Here, Huston stares directly into life’s horrors and does not blink. There’s a brief passage, as well, about her tangential involvement in Roman Polanski’s 1977 legal troubles.
Amid the fluff and the flutter are some true passion and pain.