Borrowed Finery

Borrowed Finery

Author
Paula Fox
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Second-Hand

Excellent condition

An astonishing, devastating memoir of a 1930s American childhood. A New York Times Best Book of 2001

Born in the 1920s to young, bohemian parents, Paula Fox was left at birth in a Manhattan orphanage. Rescued by her grandmother, Fox eventually landed with a gentle, poor minister in upstate New York.

Uncle Elwood, as he came to be known, gave Paula a secure and loving home for many years, but her parents constantly re-surface. Her father is a good-looking, hard-drinking Hollywood screenwriter (among his credits is The Last Train to Madrid, which Graham Greene declared was 'the worst movie I ever saw'), and her mother, icily glamorous, is given to almost psychotic bursts of temper that punctuate a deep, disturbing indifference.

They exercise, probably without even realising it, a sort of drip-drip cruelty, a cruelty by stealth, upon Paula, as they shuttle her from one exotic place to another, from a Cuban sugar plantation to Hollywood to Montreal to Florida, from relative to relative, never spending more than a few moments with her, maybe 2 days, maybe 2 weeks, before they leave her and move on.

Paula Fox has a voice of great clarity and simplicity and this is an incredibly powerful, straight-to-the-heart piece of writing.