KATHLEEN AND FRANK by Christopher Isherwood


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From diaries (Kathleen's, that she kept from the time when she was 14) and letters (Frank's) and considerable amplifying, speculating commentaries by Christopher who appears here in the third person after he arrives on the scene, this is a dual biography of his parents which as Kathleen on an earlier occasion foresaw might also prove to be ""chiefly about Christopher."" Not chiefly, but partially, since this is to some extent an attempt at self-discovery. Kathleen was a woman of considerable spirit and definition, although the discretion of the period in which she lived as well as her own fondness for concealment and circumlocution tempers the image. She waited many years (interrupted by the Boer War, opposed by her father) to marry Francis Edward Bradshaw Isherwood and to go with him to the north country where he was the squire of the ancestral home (before the marriage of his brother dislodged him). The diary entries are brief, perishable as they so often are, but the interpolations of Christopher do much to fill out their collective experience which draws to an end with his father's death, first reported as missing in action. . . . Kathleen once applied the word ""soothing"" to many of the books she read which Frank claimed was contemptuous, at any rate, dismissive; this though, and not in that sense, is the penultimate pleasing impression conveyed here in this affectionate commemorative.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1971
Publisher: Simon & Schuster