DOUBLE LIVES by William Plomer


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William Plomer is but one of the main figures in his autobiography, which expands to include a memorable biography of his father, a somewhat less complete one of his mother, and etchings of numerous relatives. There is as well an evocation of a recent yet distant era and of far lands. The prenatal thread spins about his father, who set out for South Africa and a youthful career in many positions, including the Jamison raiders, who at length brought his bride out and had his children there, with much ferrying to and from England for reasons of education, health, etc..The author in his own life and art seems to have assimilated his inheritance by osmosis, and his recall of family histrionics, fountainheaded by the neurotic grand-mother, of family households, of English boarding schools or Zululand trading stations, take on a vibrance of living creation here. The book carries him to manhood and the farther shore of Japan, past his first startling and loudly received novel, and into his conception of double lives, and at last back to the Western roots of his heritage. A beautiful exercise in creative biography...for in truth, it is the surrounding figures who take precedence here.

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1956
Publisher: Noonday