THE STRANGE WORLD OF WILLIE SEABROOK by Marjorie Worthington

THE STRANGE WORLD OF WILLIE SEABROOK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Willie Seabrook was a best-selling author of the 1930's intent upon making his ""mark upon the wall"" but whose name is in eclipse today. He was a traveler with tales to tell, who brought back word of voodoo from Haiti and cannibalism in Africa. In 1926, Marjorie Worthington, who became his second wife, went with him to France, to live in Toulon. France was full of fascinating people, and in particular they knew the freshet of expatriates and literary visitors. They once took Carl van Vechten and his wife to a brothel on request, inevitably met and enjoyed Gertrude Stein, knew Cocteau and Paul Morand in passing. Miss Worthington has a writer's capacity to share the daily pleasures and richness of that life. But the dark streak in their existence, Willie's alcoholism (which at times carried her along in companion drinking) and sadism (his need for ""Lizzies in chains"") increasingly asserted itself. They came home to New York, Willie went to a mental hospital, after which they settled in the country and he wrote Asylum from his experience, but the drinking which had stopped started again, the horrors in the barn became more intense, and another woman appeared...Marjorie Worthington walked out, but that she never left is evident in this intense, self-questioning memoir. Willie Seabrook, who once ate a pound of human flesh in France to see what it tasted like so that he could describe it in Jungle Ways, remains an enigmatic figure, magnetic and repellent. The book about him also has a Janus face of joy and tragedy. For the audience that can't get enough of expatriate ways and literary agonies.

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World