The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family's Legacy of Infidelities

The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family's Legacy of Infidelities

by Katharine Weber


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307395894
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 06/12/2012
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.82(h) x 0.64(d)

About the Author

Katharine Weber is the author of the novels True Confections, Triangle, The Little Women, The Music Lesson, and Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, the cultural historian Nicholas Fox Weber.

Table of Contents

We Saw the Sea 1

A Decent Family 7

The Fire That Time 37

Subject: Sidney Kaufman 49

The Memory of All That 127

Emotional Problems in Pants 222

Ganz 247

Scattered at Sea 264

Credits 269

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

The Memory of All That is a rigorous, heartfelt, often shattering history of Weber’s family and the people close to them. Making sense of family is always difficult but, for Weber, the difficulty is exacerbated because so many relatives are famous and widely written about, their stories of extramarital affairs, intimate betrayals, and falsehoods common knowledge…Weber takes advantage of her insider position to sort out lies and myths, and give readers the straight scoop on her celebrated kin. In doing so, and in using her novelist’s skills in the development of character, she also lets us see what it is really like to inherit the legacy of so many stars behaving with such astounding infidelity to the ideas of truth, marriage, and family.”
—Floyd Skloot, The Boston Globe

“Highly appealing….a book infused with the doubt that we all bring to the contemplation of those mysterious beings who birthed us, along with our certainty that few subjects are more fascinating….It’s when Ms. Weber remembers Papa that her considerable skills as a writer are most seductively on display. And it’s not just because the exasperating Kaufman is such a good subject. It’s that Ms. Weber is able to arrange words musically, so that they capture the elusive, unfinished melodies that haunt our memories of childhood. As her grandmother’s lover might have put it, she’s got rhythm.”
The New York Times
The Memory of All That is less a family memoir than a family biography. Which is good because Weber’s kin are more than fascinating enough to stand on their own without embellishments of personal memory. (A-) ”
Entertainment Weekly
“Gracefully written, poignant and droll, The Memory of All That is a gifted author’s brave look back at her eccentric, lively forbears — their dealings, foibles and affairs.”
Dallas Morning News
“Weber is an accomplished novelist; she knows well how to manipulate fictional form, as any reading of her 2006 novel Triangle will readily illustrate….In The Memory of All That, Weber’s eye for detail and for the right phrase is undiminished. No, no, they can’t take that away.”
Chicago Sun-Times
"Old scandals. What fun...The core of her tale is that of elegant sin and betrayal."
Daily News

"Weber is an elegant writer, and she can be witheringly funny."
Palm Beach Post

"To be a writer born into an illustrious and complex family is both a burden and a gift.  In THE MEMORY OF ALL THAT, Katharine Weber trains her novelist's eye and penetrating intelligence upon what may be her greatest subject: her own family's history as it stretches back, generation after fascinating generation.  Her achievement here is a literary one, to be sure—but even more than the beautiful, elegant story contained in these pages, I am in awe of the strength, tenacity and courage it took to rise up out of this fabled cast of characters and write one of the most powerful memoirs about inheritance I have ever read."
—Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion

“The Memory of All That is an engaging family memoir that centers on the ardent extra-marital liaison between the author's maternal grandmother, composer Kay Swift, and her eminent colleague George Gershwin....An entertaining, often poignant book.”
—Francine du Plessix Gray, author of Them
"A deeply moving book that is resonant and richly rewarding.  Katharine Weber’s loving and insightful look at her marquee worthy family fundamentally reminds us of our own in its strangeness and complexity.  The deeply bonded relationship between her grandmother Kay Swift and lover George Gershwin is finally fully revealed with accuracy and aching poignancy.  No one has ever properly told their story, and the combination of Weber’s inside family knowledge, assiduous research, and brilliant writing make this an unforgettable and essential read."
—Michael Feinstein

“I honestly don't believe I've ever read a memoir so filled with anything like Weber’s own, fierce, detached grace. Her ability to evoke the most horrifying events while reducing the reader to helpless laughter is uncanny….An extraordinary achievement.” 
Robb Forman Dew

 “Novelist Weber mines her rich family history, hitting the mother lode of pedigreed romances and remembrances….Grandmother Kay Swift, the first female Broadway composer and George Gershwin’s longtime lover; grandpa James Paul Warburg, FDR’s economic adviser, and daddy Sidney Kaufman, serial womanizer, unconventional filmmaker, and producer of the first feature film that literally smelled, thanks to a process called Aromarama, literally walk off the pages of this captivating multigenerational saga.”
“A wry portrait of a powerful, talented, but troubled family.”
Publishers Weekly

 “Novelist Weber tells the story of her colorful family and the scandalous—but monumentally transformative—love affair between her grandmother, Kay Swift and George Gershwin….Rich details of a dazzling but painful family past fraught with betrayals, infidelities and other assorted dysfunctions…. illuminating.”
Kirkus Reviews
"A thoroughly engaging family memoir."
Library Journal

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The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family's Legacy of Infidelities 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Carolee888 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Memory of All That by Katherine Weber was disappointing. It was really split into two stories.The first half was about Katherine's childhood and her family and the second half was about the long affair (ten years) that her grandmother, Kay Swift had with George Gershwin.My main criticism is not about the morality of her relatives, I figure she is just telling what happened, but the lack of editing. There were times that the book just told too much about her family. So much so that it got to be boring. Then something interesting would pop up and later it would go back to being tedious. This book would have really have been improved by an impartial reader cutting out the unnecessary and repetitious parts. I know that the author love coffee, because she told me three times! If the tedious had been edited out this would have been a great book.Her father was an interesting rascal. He seemed to go out of his way to be a horrible father, like making promises and not keeping them. I really want to tell you more about him, but you might want to discover that for yourself. Her mother pampered as a child never learned to cook and seemed just not to know how to be a mother. I learned some intriguing facts about George Gershwin and would like to read more about him.Now the tough question, would I recommend this book? Yes, because of Katherine Weber¿s unusual family and no because it should have left out chunks of boring and repetitious parts.I received this book from Library Thing and that in no way influenced my review.