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Strangers is a literary memoir by Emma Tennant, the British novelist whose eccentric family is described here in a unique style, pristine and elegant. The story begins in 1912, as the world is about to break into war-where Emma's great-aunt, Margot Asquith (wife of Britain's Prime Minister), maintains an ongoing feud with her grandmother, the dreamy...
Strangers is a literary memoir by Emma Tennant, the British novelist whose eccentric family is described here in a unique style, pristine and elegant. The story begins in 1912, as the world is about to break into war-where Emma's great-aunt, Margot Asquith (wife of Britain's Prime Minister), maintains an ongoing feud with her grandmother, the dreamy Pamela. Pamela's children are all poignantly evoked, including her son Bim who dies on the Somme. Pamela accepts his sacrifice "as if death lies in the faint outline of garden where it merges with rushes and reedbeds"; and Emma's father inherits Glen, the Scottish baronial seat. Gradually, we encounter Emma herself, a lonely child left in Glen during World War II, and a witness to the mysterious comings and goings of her extended family. The penultimate chapter portrays the decline of Emma's uncle, the famous aesthete Stephen Tennant, written about by V. S. Naipaul in The Enigma of the Arrival. Deeply evocative and atmospheric, and written with fascinating detail, Strangers is, as The Guardian explains: "a historical chronicle but also a reverie on where you put your family inside yourself."
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