Why Not Say What Happened?: A Memoir

Overview

An astonishing and at times outright comic memoir that marks the brilliant debut of a writer raised in a creative, bohemian household characterized by extreme privilege tinged with neglect.

Born into one of the most celebrated Anglo-Irish families, the Guinnesses, Ivana Lowell tells a stunning story of coming to terms with her blue-blood heritage and her own childhood traumas. It is also the story of her intense relationship with her formidably intelligent and complicated ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (23) from $2.39   
  • New (7) from $9.52   
  • Used (16) from $2.39   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing 1 – 6 of 7
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$9.52
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(4442)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
New Book. Shipped from UK within 4 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000.

Ships from: Horcott Rd, Fairford, United Kingdom

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$18.98
Seller since 2013

Feedback rating:

(5)

Condition: New
2011 Paperback A Brand New copy, unused and unread. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you ... will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

Ships from: Hereford, United Kingdom

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$18.98
Seller since 2013

Feedback rating:

(5)

Condition: New
2011 Paperback A Brand New copy, unused and unread. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you ... will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

Ships from: Hereford, United Kingdom

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$20.49
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(17457)

Condition: New
Brand New, Perfect Condition, Please allow 4-14 business days for delivery. 100% Money Back Guarantee, Over 1,000,000 customers served.

Ships from: Westminster, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$23.60
Seller since 2013

Feedback rating:

(1)

Condition: New
2011 Paperback New Next working day dispatch from the UK (Mon-Fri). Please contact us with any queries. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in ... Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

Ships from: Hereford, United Kingdom

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$27.44
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(860)

Condition: New
1408810042 Brand New. Exact book as advertised. Delivery in 4-14 business days (not calendar days). We are not able to expedite delivery.

Ships from: Romulus, MI

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing 1 – 6 of 7
Close
Sort by

Overview

An astonishing and at times outright comic memoir that marks the brilliant debut of a writer raised in a creative, bohemian household characterized by extreme privilege tinged with neglect.

Born into one of the most celebrated Anglo-Irish families, the Guinnesses, Ivana Lowell tells a stunning story of coming to terms with her blue-blood heritage and her own childhood traumas. It is also the story of her intense relationship with her formidably intelligent and complicated mother, the writer Caroline Blackwood. A keen observer with an incisive eye, a wicked sense of humor, and no self-pity, Lowell sets a wide range of scenes with a truly unexpected, almost madcap cast of characters, introducing us to such eccentric figures as her maternal grandmother, Maureen, the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava. She takes us from the marchioness’s annual ball for her idol and old friend, the Queen Mother, to Maureen’s stately Irish home, Clandeboye (where the marchioness hopes to die), to summers in Dufferin’s villa in Sardinia; through moves to carelessly furnished, drafty, too-large English country houses with her mother and stepfather, the poet Robert Lowell; to working in Manhattan at Miramax Books for Harvey Weinstein and a trip with his brother, Bob, to the Academy Awards; to her wedding at New York’s Rainbow Room and finally to a life with her daughter. Ivana also has darker stories to tell including her own stints in rehab, and discovering, after her mother’s death, the secret Lady Caroline had successfully kept from her.

Why Not Say What Happened? introduces a dazzling new literary voice and the fascinating story of a tragic and remarkable family.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Named after a line from a poem by Robert Lowell, her mother's third husband and an important stabilizing presence in her early life, this self-searching, poor-little-rich-girl story is, in ways, a search for a father. Alcoholism ran through Ivana Lowell's family, the descendants of the Guinness beer fortune; her fabulous grandmother, Maureen, married royalty, and cultivated "talented snobs," while her mother, novelist Lady Caroline Blackwood, who had grown up in northern Ireland, crossed into bohemia by first marrying Lucian Freud, then composer Israel Citkowitz. Moving between New York's Greenwich Village and London, her mother also had affairs with English screenwriter Ivan Moffat and New York Review of Books editor Robert Silvers, so it was never clear who was the author's father.After her mother's marriage to Robert Lowell, the family lived in a rustic house in Kent; there, the author was sexually molested by a caretaker. Lowell embarked on her own destructive drinking while at various boarding schools, attended drama school, and ended up in New York working for Harvey and Bob Weinstein's Miramax. In alternate chapters she chronicles her extensive rehab over the years, her voice stripped of all vanity and self-pity, revealing a near palpable relief in baring the unlovely details. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

“An exhilarating roller-coaster ride of a book, full of the sort of wonderfully terrible secrets writers seldom have the guts to tell, let alone with such an assured and beguiling candor—but then of course, Ivana’s Irish and a born writer .”
—John Richardson, author of A Life of Picasso, volumes 1-3
 
"Ivana Lowell’s memoir is a heart-breaking account of a gifted woman, her brilliant but destructive parents, and a glamorous, aristocratic life that was laced with arsenic. That she survived and now shines as literary force in her own right is apparent from the very first page. Why Not Say What Happened? is a tour de force."
—Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire
 
“Shocking and hilarious, this elegantly lucid memoir by Ivana Lowell is that lethal mix of British aristocracy, giant fortunes, huge freezing houses, beautiful women jagged with sophistication, pedophilia, mysterious paternity, cruelty and yes, cocktails. We are reminded of the plays of Oscar Wilde and novels from Ronald Firbank to Evelyn Waugh as we are introduced to a lively and unlikely mix that includes the Queen Mother and Harvey and Bob Weinstein. I am not making this up.
The startling thing is how recent all this is and how extreme. Lowell is impressive and touching in sparing us none of this tragicomedy, least of all herself.”
—Mike Nichols

“Ivana Lowell's Why Not Say What happened? is a particularly lucid memoir of growing up in simultaneous extremes of privilege and neglect. The book is a riveting history of a family that folds in on itself, consuming generation after generation with money, power, alcoholism, and profound selfishness and emotional disconnection. Lowell’s compact, finely tuned paragraphs render the saga with brave urgency and courage, and while the import and impact of events is horrifyingly clear, there’s an absence of melodrama to the telling and a deep compassion—call it love—for those who failed the author so miserably.”
—A. M. Homes, Elle
 
“Her recollections . . . could have made for grim reading, but Lowell’s writing remains conversational and refreshingly free of self-pity.”
—Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“The tales she recounts about her upbringing range from tender to funny to outright absurd . . . [She has] a wry, unblunted grip on her life story . . . Lowell has executed an impeccable memoir.”    
—Claire Howorth, The Daily Beast
 
“[A] clear-eyed chronicle . . .”
Town & Country

Kirkus Reviews

Unflinching memoir about growing up affluent and unhappy in Britain.

All she wanted was a normal, suburban existence. But for Lowell, under the veneer of privilege as the daughter of a wealthy heiress lay many miserable years of alcoholism, benign neglect and emotional turmoil. Family, household, relationships—all suffered from the "family problem." With an aristocratic pedigree that stretched back centuries, Lowell spent the public part of her young life attending balls and having tea with royals, and the rest of it tiptoeing around her volatile mother in a series of ramshackle mansions. Her mother, arguably the main character of the book, could be self-absorbed, overly dramatic, conniving, exasperating, socially awkward and remarkably unmaternal. It is telling that one of her mother's husbands, the poet Robert Lowell, with his crippling bouts of mania and mental illness, emerges as the most stable person in her childhood. Scarred literally and figuratively by her childhood, she nevertheless grew into a powerful and privileged young woman, hobnobbing with royalty, movie stars, artists and writers, and even dating Harvey Weinstein. But eventually substance abuse got to her, too, and she spent years bouncing in and out of rehab facilities. After her mother's death, she encountered the mystery of her own paternity, a theme explored in the last few chapters. Part of the narrative's power comes from the fact that the narrator, though certainly recovering, is not quite out of the woods yet, and she doesn't speak with illusions of perfect hindsight. Her keenly honest descriptions of her extraordinary circumstances keep the narrative moving swiftly. The other part of the story's allure—perhaps ironically for a book that shows how privilege doesn't always bring happiness or contentment—is the glamorous crowd that surrounded her. Lowell never tries to impress us, but her life undoubtedly makes for a juicy read.

An unsettling yet entertaining chronicle of an exceptional life.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781408810040
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
  • Publication date: 9/28/2011

Meet the Author

Ivana Lowell grew up in London, Boston, and New York. She now lives in Sag Harbor with her daughter.
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
Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    don't bother

    sadly, i found this to be not only 'not worth my money - but mostly 'not worth my time'. in fact, skimmed thru much of it. it was a disappointment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 31, 2010

    Interesting Page Turner

    Ivana Lowell did an excellent job of describing her life with insight and humor. Although many of the events that happened to her were because of her own poor choices, she was able to admit that, and in the end appreciate what she did have. She loving describes many members of her dysfunctional family and learns to accept them for who they are. I found the book engaging and couldn't wait to find out what would happen next.

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

    Posted December 26, 2010

    boring

    this woman has a pity party for herself, despite the fact that the only problems she has ever experienced are of her wown making. too much money and indulgence.

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

    Posted February 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews

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