Mosaic

Overview

A love story, a detective story, a book of secrets, a beautifully written journey into a forest of family trees.
After writing the definitive biographies of Lytton Strachey and George Bernard Shaw, Michael Holroyd turned his hand to a more personal subject: his own family. The result was Basil Street Blues, published in 1999. But rather than the story being over, it was in fact only beginning. As letters from readers started to pour in, the author discovered extraordinary ...

See more details below
Paperback
$17.12
BN.com price
(Save 22%)$21.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (6) from $15.99   
  • New (4) from $15.99   
  • Used (2) from $16.96   
Mosaic: A Family Memoir Revisited

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 31%)$15.95 List Price

Overview

A love story, a detective story, a book of secrets, a beautifully written journey into a forest of family trees.
After writing the definitive biographies of Lytton Strachey and George Bernard Shaw, Michael Holroyd turned his hand to a more personal subject: his own family. The result was Basil Street Blues, published in 1999. But rather than the story being over, it was in fact only beginning. As letters from readers started to pour in, the author discovered extraordinary narratives that his own memoir had only touched on.Mosaic is Holroyd's piecing together of these remarkable stories: the murder of the fearsome headmaster of his school; the discovery that his Swedish grandmother was the mistress of the French anarchist Jacques Prévert; and a letter about the beauty of his mother that provides a clue to a decade-long affair.
Funny, touching, and wry, Mosaic shows how other people's lives, however eccentric or extreme, echo our own dreams and experiences.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
“Basil Street Blues,” a 1999 memoir by the well-known British biographer, recounted his feckless parents’ slide from fortune in a masterly panorama of waning upper-middle-class life. This sequel clears up loose ends: readers, sometimes irate, write to correct aspects of the family story, and Holroyd hunts, often at extravagant length, for archival clues about some of the more elusive characters. This makes for a bit of a grab bag, but Holroyd can make even the red tape surrounding probate seem comic and sad. He comes closer to self-portrait than previously, wryly pointing up the detachment beneath his equable exterior. At the funeral of a nonagenarian aunt, he is the only mourner until a representative of her nursing home, who never met her, arrives and promptly bursts into tears: “Anyone seeing us must have concluded that she is the sorrowing relative and I the bland official.”
Publishers Weekly
In 1999, British biographer Holroyd (Lytton Strachey, Bernard Shaw) published his memoir Basil Street Blues, and devoted readers wrote him letters with testimonies and memories that both enhanced and contradicted the careful family history he'd attempted to write. Now, Holroyd delves back into his family's past to "fill one more gap," resulting in a "requiem... a love story... a detective story, [and] finally a book of secrets revealed." However, revisiting his history a second time around does nothing to relieve the author's difficult moral dilemma: how does one respect a family's privacy while attempting to accurately render their lives? Holroyd spends most of the book delving further into the shadowy pasts of his grandmother (who was the mistress of French anarchist Jacques Pr vert), mother and aunts, and into his own roller-coaster love affair with a colorful and passionate writer named Phillipa Pullar, whose "moods lurched and swerved violently, unaccountably-she swallowed purple hearts, anti-depressants, sleeping pills, all mixed with alcohol." Many of his recollections are fascinating portraits of individuals coming of age in the early 1900s, though readers unfamiliar with Basil may tire of the lengths to which the author goes to uncover the minutiae of what may seem like "extravagantly humdrum people." Illus. not seen by PW. Agent, Mickey Choate. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
After the publication of his 1999 memoir, Basil Street Blues, Holroyd discovered even more depth to his rich heritage when readers flooded him with letters offering compelling details of his extraordinary family. In this funny, touching memoir, he pieces together fascinating stories, recalling, for instance, the London apartment in which he sometimes stayed with his mother and her third husband (it turns out to have been used by Hitler's ambassador, Von Ribbentrop) and the huge glass elephant his father used to help a German Jew escape Nazi Germany in 1935. In drawing on readers' letters, Holroyd truly demonstrates how people from all walks of life are interconnected by their experiences and emotions. A beautifully written perspective on one person's genealogy, this is an intriguing and enjoyable read. Highly recommended for larger public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/04.] Susan McClellan, Avalon P.L., Pittsburgh Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Veteran biographer Holroyd (Bernard Shaw, 1998, etc.) digs up some more material on his most recent subject: his own family. In the author's previous memoir, Basil Street Blues (2000), he applied his trademark high-toned literary approach to personal history. That book brought Holroyd unexpected popular acclaim, as well as a fair amount of communication from readers who offered up more information about some of the foggier regions of his family history. These chips and fragments gave the writer an opportunity to add detail to the broad picture he painted in his earlier work. Holroyd takes a necessarily scattershot approach to his material; after all, something as rough and unplanned as a human life, much less numerous lives bound together by bloodlines and circumstance, can't be neatly organized. But it's remarkable how much he learned from complete strangers about relatives as close as his father and as mysterious as his grandfather's mistress. Almost more interesting, however, are the details that Holroyd lets lie along the road of his discoveries, such as his penchant for visiting prostitutes as a young man and his secret marriage to novelist Margaret Drabble. Holroyd occasionally overidentifies with his subjects, a common problem with biographers and an especially deadly one for a writer who seems already too fond of introspection and who is essentially researching himself. Still, there are times-especially when revisiting his long, loving, tumultuous relationship with writer Philippa Pullar-when the power of his narrative takes off on a raw tear that is nothing less than exhilarating. Navel-gazing, then, but redeemed by the author's rich power of memory and mellifluous voice: thetelling's the thing, not the story. Agent: Caradoc King/AP Watt
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393327687
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2004
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 0.70 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Holroyd has written celebrated biographies of Hugh Kingsmill, Augustus John, and Bernard Shaw, as well as the acclaimed Basil Street Blues and Mosaic. He lives in London with his wife.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)