Down and Out

Eric & Us, Jacintha Buddicom's memoir of growing up with George Orwell, seems to be predictable proof of a proper old biddy's misunderstanding of a childhood chum. We were genteel! she protests. We didn't grow up in the dark, unpleasant, repressed little world Orwell depicted.

But then her story turns unutterably sad and painful. Kathryn Hughes explains why.

February 19, 2007 12:31 PM | | Comments (3)



And we knew a fair amount about Blair/Orwell already, despite the efforts of his widow, Sonia. But that image of Orwell, on his deathbed, hoping to talk Buddicom into taking care of his adopted son, despite their disastrous early relationship and despite the fact, unknown to him, that she already gave up one child -- the twisted complexities and sorrows in that single moment would make any biographer doubt the efficacy of his project.

Thanks for writing.

this story reminds me that biographies (and autobiographies too!) can only be fragmentary tapestries depicting a life. it makes me think about how much these buried details of a person's life, once uncovered, can change everything about how we read their life story, and--in the case of writers--how we read their works. and it also makes me think about how very much it humanizes these subjects. wow.

Thanks for the tease--I read it all the way through. That's too terrible and it should be a novel in its own right....

I was laughing all the way through the first half--people are so touchy about Orwell--but the second half is heartbreaking.


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