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The Complete Book of Aunts
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The Complete Book of Aunts, by Rupert Christiansen, is an entertaining and touching exploration of aunts in all their guises and varieties.

Promotional Information

An entertaining and touching exploration of aunts in all their guises and varieties.

About the Author

Rupert Christiansen is the author of several books, including The Faber Pocket Guide to Opera, Prima Donna, Romantic Affinities, Paris Babylon and The Visitors. He is an opera critic and arts columnist for The Daily Telegraph, dance critic for the Mail on Sunday and a regular contributor to The Spectator. He lives in London.

Reviews

British journalist Christiansen (Paris Babylon) offers a curiously dry, encyclopedic look at the evolution of aunts (as in mother's and father's siblings) in this slender gift volume illustrated by Stephanie von Reiswitz. Starting with a "short history of the aunt" from her barest mention in classical literature to her finest hour in the Victorian era, the author moves into specific examples, from famous people raised or heavily influenced by their aunts (Tolstoy, Coco Chanel, Truman Capote, John Lennon) to famous aunts in literature (Aunt Leonie in Proust, the four Dodson sisters in The Mill on the Floss and Jane Eyre's malevolent Mrs. Reed). Alternating with brief bios of iconic and brand-name aunts are italicized testimonies by nieces and nephews of real-life aunts who've made a lasting impression on young lives, from places as far apart as Canada and Pakistan. Most interesting are the occasional in-depth accounts of heroic or eccentric aunts such as learned astronomer Caroline Herschel, whose relationship with her nephew defined her later years; and Aunt Jessie in Cecil Beaton's My Bolivian Aunt. Aunt Ginny, aka Virginia Woolf, earns a well-fleshed study, as does Aunt Jane Austen. (Nov.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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