Nigel Nicolson has been many things to many people, but throughout his life he has managed to remain his own man. The son of Harold Nicolson and the notorious Vita Sackville-West, Nicolson apparently inherited his parents' gift for writing; his autobiography, Long Life
, is an illuminating chronicle of a life that spans eight decades. For aficionados of the Bloomsbury group, Nicolson obligingly offers up details of his parents' marriage, his mother's relationships with Violet Trefusis
and Virginia Woolf
, and his father's own indiscretion with a fellow (male) guest at a house party. Those interested in Nicolson's publishing career will find plenty of food for thought in his account of the house he founded with partner George Weidenfeld and the books they championed--most notably, Vladimir Nabokov
's scandalous Lolita
. Finally, readers who know Nicolson primarily as a war historian are rewarded with his reminiscences of his time as a soldier in North Africa and Italy during World War II--experiences that became the foundation of his excellent biography of Field Marshal Earl Alexander.
Love, war, and literature--could you ask for any more from one man? In the case of Nigel Nicolson, yes. Throw in politics--Nicolson was a member of Parliament in the 1950s--family, and famous friends, all charmingly depicted, and you have an extraordinary life encapsulated between the covers of one book. Readers of Long Life will be wishing the same to Nicolson and hoping for another installment.
From Library Journal
Nicolson, the younger son of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West and author of Portrait of a Marriage (LJ 10/15/73), has assembled the many experiences of his life into a fascinating memoir. Instead of a straight chronological work, Nicolson has chosen a thematic approach to his life. The chapters relate a varied life including friendship with Virginia Woolf when he was 11, attending Eton and Oxford, serving in World War II, launching a political career, and cofounding the publishing house Weidenfeld & Nicolson, among other accomplishments. Readers with literary interests will be fascinated by his thoughts on the writing of Portrait of a Marriage, publishing Lolita, and the relationship of his mother to Woolf. Nicolson's narrative flows with a charm that easily draws the reader into his life. A marvelous memoir of a rich, multifaceted life; recommended for all libraries.?Ronald Ray Ratliff, Chapman H.S. Lib., KS
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