A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York [NOOK Book]


Writing with an exuberant love of language and detail, Anjelica Huston shares her enchanted childhood in Ireland, her teen years in London, and her coming-of-age as a model and nascent actress in New York.

Living with her glamorous and artistic mother, educated by tutors and nuns, intrepid on a horse, Huston was raised on an Irish estate to which—between movies—her father brought his array of extraordinary friends, from Carson McCullers and ...
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A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York

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Writing with an exuberant love of language and detail, Anjelica Huston shares her enchanted childhood in Ireland, her teen years in London, and her coming-of-age as a model and nascent actress in New York.

Living with her glamorous and artistic mother, educated by tutors and nuns, intrepid on a horse, Huston was raised on an Irish estate to which—between movies—her father brought his array of extraordinary friends, from Carson McCullers and John Steinbeck to Peter O’Toole and Marlon Brando. Every morning, Anjelica and her brother visited their father while he took his breakfast in bed. “What news?” he’d ask. “I’d seen him the night before,” Anjelica recalls. “There wasn’t much to report.” So she became a storyteller.

In London, where she lives with her mother and brother in the early sixties when her par­ents separate, Huston encounters the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac. She understudies Marianne Faithfull in Hamlet. Seventeen, striking, precocious, but still young and vulnerable, she is devastated when her mother dies in a car crash.

Months later she moves to New York, falls in love with the much older, brilliant but disturbed photographer Bob Richardson, and becomes a model. Living in the Chelsea Hotel, working with Richard Avedon and other photographers, she navigates a volatile relationship and the dynamic cultural epicenter of New York in the seventies.

A Story Lately Told ends as Huston launches her Hollywood life. The second part of her story—Watch Me—opens in Los Angeles in 1973 and will be published in Fall 2014. Beguiling and beautifully written, Huston’s memoir is a treasure.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Anjelica Huston was born into extraordinary circumstances: Her father was director John Huston; her mother, a prima ballerina; her grandfather, legendary actor Walter Huston. Growing up among artists, she eased into the sixties, devastated only when her beloved mother was killed in a car crash. In this deeply reflective memoir, the Academy Award-winning actress writes about her early life; her family; her four year love affair with troubled photographer Bob Richardson; her careers in modeling and movies; and her complicated relationship wither father.

Library Journal
This nostalgic opus chronicles actress/model Huston's life (and burgeoning career) from childhood to young adulthood. In highly descriptive detail, Huston (b. 1951) tells the story of her parents, director John Huston and former dancer Enrica Soma, and their cultured, yet curiously distant marriage. Filled with correspondence from her parents and family friends, many of them quite famous, this memoir paints a portrait of artificial opulence tempered by tragedy and the financial and interpersonal struggles of Huston and her family. Her storytelling skills, honed at an early age, are evident throughout, though readers may feel that there is much more to the Huston family that remains untold. Perhaps those stories will surface in part two, covering Huston's later career and life, which is scheduled to publish in 2014. VERDICT Recommended for fans of the Hustons (John; his father, Walter; Anjelica), as well as those who enjoy Vanity Fair-type showbiz profiles.—Tamela Chambers, Chicago Pub. Schs.
The New York Times Book Review - Sheila Weller
Though her life did not hold the challenges familiar to the 99 percent, it took strength to stay sensible amid temptations that felled others—and not to let her self-esteem be destroyed by a manipulative father. Anjelica Huston has long seemed a person of integrity and wistfulness…This book—not profound but quite delicious—shows how those qualities grew in both hospitable and inhospitable soil.
Publishers Weekly
Actress Huston achieves some moments of ringing clarity in this memoir of her youth, especially as regards her famous director father, John Huston, whom she was both terrified and in awe of (people “considered him a lion, a leader, the pirate they wished they had the audacity to be”). The daughter of his fourth wife, the dancer Ricki Soma (who was much younger than him), Anjelica Huston and her older brother, Tony, were raised in a remote 110-acre estate in West Country, Ireland, called St. Clerans, where being homeschooled; being visited by famous, quirky people; riding horses amid wildly romantic scenery; and playing dress-up filled her youth. Her father was frequently absent on far-flung shoots, and her exotic mother was “out of her element.” With her parents’ separation, Anjelica moved between Ireland and London, where her mother lived and where Anjelica went to school in the 1960s. She gradually embraced an acting career, appearing in her father’s A Walk with Love and Death, though without confidence. After the death of her mother in 1969, Huston slipped into a more comfortable role of modeling and serving as the muse for the troubled, brilliant (and much older) fashion photographer Bob Richardson over four tortured years. Huston ends her brave account by describing her complex relationship with her father. (Nov.)
Joan Didion
“Lucid, loving, all a memoir should be.”
Mike Nichols
A Story Lately Told is written with the magic of the Irish and a touch of the family genius. From her vivid descriptions of growing up in the horse country of County Galway, Ireland, to her glimpses of rough glamour in the Chelsea Hotel, Anjelica's writing shines with her particular mix of intelligence, beauty, wit, and courage. Her book is gorgeous.”
Colm Tóibín
A Story Lately Told is filled with glitter, glamour and excitement, but it is underpinned by loss, solitude and estrangement, and the need to tell the truth, which makes the book memorable and affecting. Anjelica Huston’s account of growing up in Ireland is fascinating and masterly, as is her version of life in London and New York in the 1960s.”
The New York Times Book Review - Sheila Weller
“[An] elegy for a vanished world, [A Story Lately Told] becomes a seductive social history of the 1960s—and the story of [Huston’s] fractious separation from an indomitable father and grief for the loss of the mother who was the ballast of her life.”
The Buffalo News (Editor’s Choice) - Jeff Simon
“Impressively written in a style that is as graceful and natural as breathing and as observant as that by a ‘born writer.’…[Huston] comes of age surrounded by talent, pot, fame and photographers, and tells her tale with unexpected distinction.”
NPR - Meg Wolitzer
“Huston’s privileged childhood is described with great texture. The enormous estate in Ireland where her family lived is a rambling, magical place. The names that are dropped in this book don’t constitute name-dropping, but are simply the names that populated her childhood…[Huston] is a smart and subtle enough writer not to aim for a pop diagnosis, but instead, once again, [goes] for something truer, deeper and richer…[A] stirring memoir.”
Boston Globe - Kate Tuttle
“Anjelica Huston grew up in what sounds a fairy tale—magically beautiful, yet tinged with loss, sadness, and monsters.”
Philadelphia Inquirer - Carrie Rickey
A Story Lately Told proves that Huston is a third-generation storyteller. As she chronicles her earliest memories through age 22, she echoes the rhythms and structures of novels like Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and What Maisie Knew, focusing on surface sensations of youth while implying profound internal changes.”
USA Today - Jocelyn McClurg
“Anjelica Huston has lived a big, colorful life—big and colorful enough to fill two volumes of an autobiography…Huston has a way with a descriptive phrase, and it’s on display in A Story Lately Told.”
Entertainment Weekly - Melissa Maerz
“[Huston’s] lovely, novelistic writing carries the book….As a storyteller, she’s having more fun than a monkey in a lingerie drawer.”
People - Mary Pols
Vanity Fair
New York magazine - Maggie Lange
“[A Story Lately Told] contains a plethora of compelling tales.”
Huffington Post - Liz Smith
“[A Story Lately Told] is peopled by names like Carson McCullers, John Steinbeck, Peter O’Toole, Marlon Brando, Monty Clift and the succession of gorgeous, interesting women who made up her father’s peripatetic life. Anjelica can really write. The prologue alone to her memoir is worthy.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Carol O’Sullivan
“Structured in short, colorful vignettes, A Story Lately Told shows off Ms. Huston’s fabulous memory, keen observations and lovely use of language.”
Shelf Awareness
“Intriguing…Huston offers a fascinating account of her charmed childhood (peppered with celebrities coming to dinner) and her rebellious stage.”
Guardian (UK) - Alexander Larman
“Compelling, thoughtful, starry reading…What’s particularly enjoyable about her story is the rhapsodic way that she beautifully describes that bygone world.”
Telegraph (UK) - Helen Brown
“Elegant and economical.”
Showbiz 411 - Roger Friedman
“A wise, witty, and wonderful autobiography.”
Vanity Fair - Graydon Carter
“An elegant, funny, and frequently haunting reminiscence of the first two decades of her life…A classic.”
Reuters - Ellen Freilich
“If a storytelling gene exists, Huston inherited one from her father, the Oscar-winning director John Huston, and another from her mother, the ballet dancer Enrica Soma, who nurtured in her children a love of books and a gift for observation.”
Jewish Journal of LA - Joy Bennett
“Elegantly written…Told with grace and honesty. You would expect no less from this fascinating, unusual woman.”
Orange County Register - Samantha Dunn
“Told in lush prose, [A Story Lately Told] is at once an eyewitness account of the social history of London and New York in the '60s and '70s, a wistful remembrance of childhood in an idyllic Irish country manor, and an exploration of what it meant to be reared at the crossroads of celebrity and culture as the daughter of director John Huston (“The African Queen,” “The Maltese Falcon”) and his fourth wife, Italian-American ballerina Enrica Soma.”
Kirkus Reviews
An Oscar-winning actress from a celebrated entertainment family recalls her peripatetic childhood and adolescence, her various awakenings and epiphanies. The granddaughter of Oscar winner Walter Huston (1949, for The Treasure of Sierra Madre) and daughter of Oscar-winning actor and director John Huston (1949, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, for directing and screenwriting) writes that she "was a lonely child." However, so many personalities and celebrities swirl through the story that we begin to wonder about loneliness in a crowd. Born in 1951, she soon became a part of her father's world, though he was often absent, off filming. She adored her mother (John's fourth wife) but would soon learn that her father's carnal needs were immense. He would marry a fifth time but also carry on multiple affairs with--it seems--just about any woman who would yield. The earliest sections of Huston's memoir are the strongest: poignant details about her childhood affections, the men and women who worked on the Irish estate purchased with her father's film profits (his habitual gambling ever endangered all), the quotidian routines of girlhood. But as time progresses, the memoir sags. Soon, her selection principle seems to be "I remember this, so I'm including it," and a phone book of names assails readers, challenging both memory and interest. However, there are some amusing anecdotes--e.g., a plane ride with the Monkees, an appearance with an oddly detached Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. The death of her mother (car crash) was obviously traumatizing, as was a longtime affair with photographer Bob Richardson, an affair that veered toward abusive before its end. This first installment--to be followed next year with the second volume--concludes as the author heads to Los Angeles. Banality clutches the text tightly, too rarely releasing its wings.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451656312
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 11/19/2013
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 23,297
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Academy Award-winning actress and director Anjelica Huston has received honors from the National Society of Film Critics; the Independent Spirit Awards; and the Golden Globe Awards; as well as multiple Oscar, BAFTA, and Emmy awards or nominations. Huston most recently starred on the hit TV show Smash. She is the author of the memoirs A Story Lately Told and Watch Me.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 17, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Anjelica Huston is one of the great actresses of her time. This

    Anjelica Huston is one of the great actresses of her time. This books tells her story ranging from her childhood in Ireland to her teen years in London to her acting career in New York. She led a very unconventional life and this book does her story justice. I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    Anjelica Huston is a classic, elegant lady. Her biography "

    Anjelica Huston is a classic, elegant lady. Her biography "A Story Lately Told" is no different. The most intriguing aspect of this book are the mini-memoirs and how A. Huston wrote them. She would begin a story then finish almost when the reader is asking, "More, please." As the book carries on, it becomes evident A. Huston simply tells a story to the extent she believes the stories about her life should be told. Enchanting and hilarious. I cannot wait until the second installment!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014


    A disappointment. What should have been an interesting read was made one dimensional by bad writing. I really hope that Angelica is not as narsistic as she comes across. I started skimming early on.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2014

    Very poorly written

    This could have been an interesting autobiography, however it is so poorly written that it is not enjoyable to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    It's too bad this autobiography is so poorly written. I looked f

    It's too bad this autobiography is so poorly written. I looked forward to reading it. Given how interesting her life,
     family and career were , the flat atonal descriptions
    were disappointing and left what could have been fascinating,  infuriatingly dull.  Even a hint more color, texture, insight and detail of her
    family, guests, fashion photographers she worked with and a bit of self awareness revealed could have made it a great read. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 30, 2013

    Well Done!

    The narrative reads like a "Vanity Fair" article, which is a compliment, not a deprecation. We are offered a peek into the artsy, intellectual and privileged life of a member of the Hollywood dynasty, the very talented Huston family, although that tinsel town remains in the background of the canvas painted here. The autobiography describes her childhood years in Ireland where she lived primarily with her mother and brother in a cozy cottage while the sprawling mansion on the Irish estate was constantly under repair and packed with art and her father's trove of acquisitions collected while he traveled the world making movies. The author comes across as self-deprecating, witty, dreamy and as delicate as a fawn. We are shown that despite all the exposure to envy inducing sophistication, the author was as vulnerable to random tragedy, mishaps, and poor choices in lovers as less intelligent and less beautiful young girls. The narrative takes us through her early years as a model and her first acting experience, where she meets some of the biggest names in fashion at the time as well as some celebrities like Mick Jagger, who must hold a record for memoir appearances. Her next volume promises to take up where the first left off, which leaves anticipation for some juicy morsels. The prose is superb so well done, Ms. Huston, well done!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    Anjelica , is a truly gifted individual who is multi Talented &a

    Anjelica , is a truly gifted individual who is multi Talented & gifted beyond comprehension!! she is a great actress & an Extraordinary director who had the ,grea good fortune to be blessed with so many gifts from her mother & father so have both of her brothers!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    A story oddly told

    215 pages of name-dropping. Her self-absorption is fascinating on some level but hardly sustains this poorly-written memoir.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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