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In this richly detailed biography, Victoria Glendinning brings alive the great Anglo-Irish novelist whose literary achievements were equaled only by her unbounded gift for living.
Taking us from Elizabeth Bowen's ancestral home in Ireland, Bowen’s Court, to Oxford where she met Yeats and Eliot, to her service as an air-raid warden in London during World War II, this penetrating biography lifts the thin veil between Bowen's imaginative world and the complex emotional life that fired her shimmering novels. We see her at elegant parties, where such friends as Virginia Woolf, Eudora Welty, and Evelyn Waugh fell under her spell; in post-war Vienna with Graham Greene; and in war-torn London, where she fell in love with a younger man who was unprepared for life at the pitch she lived it. We see her bound through several affairs to a comfortable marriage, living "life with the lid on." The world of Elizabeth Bowen was akin to that of her novels: no one behaved shockingly, yet the passions that stirred within made her a master of the ultimate suspense of human relationships–the life of the heart.
"Intense and illuminating...a highly readable, compassionate account of a woman as subtly complex and delightfully witty as the novels she wrote." —Chicago Tribune
"As a complex and compelling personality, Miss Bowen comes very much to life on these pages...entirely absorbing." —The New York Times