" The dichotomy between art and life
permeates Tomkins's book and makes
up its principal charm. . . . [The Murphys]
drew artists and writers to them
ineluctably. After all, they were works
of art while the others--Stein,Picasso, Hemingway, MacLeish, Fitzgerald--
were only trying to create such
works. . . . [This is a] beautiful and
evocative memoir. . . . The charming
and imperturbable Gerald Murphy
[was] a master of the art of living."
" A marvel of taste and economy, Living
Well Is the Best Revenge manages to
convey the originality and grace of
the Murphys' life."
From the Inside Flap
In this enchanting memoir, New Yorker writer Calvin Tomkins re-creates the privileged world of Gerald and Sara Murphy, two American originals who found themselves at the center of a charmed circle of artists and expatriate writers in France in the 1920s. Their home in Antibes, Villa America, served as a gathering place for Picasso and Léger as well as Hemingway and Fitzgerald, who used the glamorous couple as models for Dick and Nicole Diver in
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Tender Is the Night. A bestseller when it first appeared in 1971, Living Well Is the Best Revenge features sixty-nine intimate photographs collected from the Murphys' family album, along with reproductions
of several of Gerald Murphy's remarkable paintings--canvases that predate Pop Art by forty years.
"Living Well Is the Best Revenge is
a superb little study, alive with an elegance very much the Murphys'," said Nancy Mitford. Critic Russell Lynes found the book to be "at once a sharp and charming evocation of an era and a cast, mostly delightful, surely famous, and usually talented, written with an elegant balance between tongue in cheek and sympathy."
This Modern Library edition includes Calvin Tomkins's new Introduction and a rewritten last chapter.