The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me

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9780099571964: The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me

Faringdon House in Oxfordshire was the home of Lord Berners, composer, writer, painter, friend of Stravinsky and Gertrude Stein, a man renowned for his eccentricity - masks, practical jokes, a flock of multi-coloured doves - and his homosexuality. Before the war he made Faringdon an aesthete's paradise, where exquisite food was served to many of the great minds, beauties and wits of the day. Since the early thirties his companion there was Robert Heber-Percy, twenty-eight years his junior, wildly physical, unscholarly, a hothead who rode naked through the grounds, loved cocktails and nightclubs, and was known to all as the Mad Boy. If the two men made an unlikely couple, at a time when homosexuality was illegal, the addition to the household in 1942 of a pregnant Jennifer Fry, a high society girl known to be 'fast', as Robert's wife was simply astounding. After Victoria was born the marriage soon foundered (Jennifer later married Alan Ross). Berners died in 1950, leaving Robert in charge of Faringdon, aided by a ferocious Austrian housekeeper who strove to keep the same culinary standards in a more austere age. This was the world Sofka Zinovieff, Victoria's daughter, a typical child of the sixties, first encountered at the age of seventeen. Eight years later, to her astonishment, Robert told her he was leaving her Faringdon House. Her book about Faringdon and its people is marvellously witty and full of insight, bringing to life a vanished world and the almost fantastical people who lived in it.

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From the Back Cover:

Like The Bolter and Portrait of a Marriage, this beguiling, heady tale of a scandalous ménage à trois among England's upper classes combines memoir and biography to re-create an unforgettably decadent world.

Among the glittering stars of British society, Sofka Zinovieff's grandparents lived and loved with abandon. Robert Heber-Percy was a dashing young man who would rather have a drink than open a book, so his involvement with Jennifer Fry, a gorgeous socialite famous for her style and charm, was not surprising. But by the time Robert met and married Jennifer, he had already been involved with a man—Gerald, Lord Berners—for more than a decade.

Stout, eccentric and significantly older, Gerald was a composer, writer and aesthete—a creative aristocrat most at home in the company of the era's best and brightest minds. He also owned one of Britain's loveliest stately homes, Faringdon House, in Oxfordshire, which under his stewardship became a beacon of sybaritic beauty. Robert and Gerald made an unlikely couple, especially because they lived together at Faringdon House when homosexuality was illegal. And then a pregnant Jennifer moved into Faringdon in 1942, creating a formidable ménage à trois.

In this gorgeous, entertaining narrative of bohemian aristocracy, Sofka Zinovieff probes the mysteries of her grandparents and the third man in their marriage: Gerald, the complex and talented heir to a legendary house, its walls lined with priceless art and its gardens roamed by a bevy of doves, where he entertained everyone from Igor Stravinsky to Gertrude Stein. What brought Robert and Jennifer together under his roof, and why did Jennifer stay—and marry Robert?

Blending memoir and biography in her quest to lay old ghosts to rest, Zinovieff pieces together the complicated reality behind the scandals of revelry and sexuality. The resulting story, defined by keen insight, deep affection and marvelous wit, captures the glory and indulgence of the age, and explores the many ways in which we have the capacity to love.

About the Author:

Sofka Zinovieff was born in London in 1961. She studied social anthropology at Cambridge, then lived in Greece and Moscow. She is the author of three previous books, Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens, Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life (both Granta) and The House on Paradise Street. She is married to a Greek and lives in Athens.

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. If the two men made an unlikely couple, at a time when homosexuality was illegal, the addition to the household in 1942 of a pregnant Jennifer Fry, a high society girl known to be 'fast', as Robert's wife was simply astounding. After Victoria was born the marriage soon foundered (Jennifer later married Alan Ross). Num Pages: 448 pages. BIC Classification: 1DBKESF; BGA; HBJD1; VFV. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 178 x 236 x 28. Weight in Grams: 1202. . 2016. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099571964

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Book Description Vintage, 2016. Book Condition: New. If the two men made an unlikely couple, at a time when homosexuality was illegal, the addition to the household in 1942 of a pregnant Jennifer Fry, a high society girl known to be 'fast', as Robert's wife was simply astounding. After Victoria was born the marriage soon foundered (Jennifer later married Alan Ross). Num Pages: 448 pages. BIC Classification: 1DBKESF; BGA; HBJD1; VFV. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 178 x 236 x 28. Weight in Grams: 1202. . 2016. Paperback. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099571964

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 235 x 175 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Faringdon House in Oxfordshire was the home of Lord Berners, composer, writer, painter, friend of Stravinsky and Gertrude Stein, a man renowned for his eccentricity - masks, practical jokes, a flock of multi-coloured doves - and his homosexuality. Before the war he made Faringdon an aesthete s paradise, where exquisite food was served to many of the great minds, beauties and wits of the day. Since the early thirties his companion there was Robert Heber-Percy, twenty-eight years his junior, wildly physical, unscholarly, a hothead who rode naked through the grounds, loved cocktails and nightclubs, and was known to all as the Mad Boy. If the two men made an unlikely couple, at a time when homosexuality was illegal, the addition to the household in 1942 of a pregnant Jennifer Fry, a high society girl known to be fast , as Robert s wife was simply astounding. After Victoria was born the marriage soon foundered (Jennifer later married Alan Ross). Berners died in 1950, leaving Robert in charge of Faringdon, aided by a ferocious Austrian housekeeper who strove to keep the same culinary standards in a more austere age. This was the world Sofka Zinovieff, Victoria s daughter, a typical child of the sixties, first encountered at the age of seventeen. Eight years later, to her astonishment, Robert told her he was leaving her Faringdon House. Her book about Faringdon and its people is marvellously witty and full of insight, bringing to life a vanished world and the almost fantastical people who lived in it. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099571964

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 235 x 175 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Faringdon House in Oxfordshire was the home of Lord Berners, composer, writer, painter, friend of Stravinsky and Gertrude Stein, a man renowned for his eccentricity - masks, practical jokes, a flock of multi-coloured doves - and his homosexuality. Before the war he made Faringdon an aesthete s paradise, where exquisite food was served to many of the great minds, beauties and wits of the day. Since the early thirties his companion there was Robert Heber-Percy, twenty-eight years his junior, wildly physical, unscholarly, a hothead who rode naked through the grounds, loved cocktails and nightclubs, and was known to all as the Mad Boy. If the two men made an unlikely couple, at a time when homosexuality was illegal, the addition to the household in 1942 of a pregnant Jennifer Fry, a high society girl known to be fast , as Robert s wife was simply astounding. After Victoria was born the marriage soon foundered (Jennifer later married Alan Ross). Berners died in 1950, leaving Robert in charge of Faringdon, aided by a ferocious Austrian housekeeper who strove to keep the same culinary standards in a more austere age. This was the world Sofka Zinovieff, Victoria s daughter, a typical child of the sixties, first encountered at the age of seventeen. Eight years later, to her astonishment, Robert told her he was leaving her Faringdon House. Her book about Faringdon and its people is marvellously witty and full of insight, bringing to life a vanished world and the almost fantastical people who lived in it. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099571964

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