Emma Tennant's memoir reads like the account of a young girl's dream––a castle, secret rooms, overheard conversations, a brilliant harried prime minister and his formidable wife, Margot Asquith, as well as an entire generation of prince charmings alive, one moment, on old lawns, and next gone in the First War, ghosts in the attics.
—Gore Vidal

A delightful and elegant literary memoir about the Scottish novelist's eccentric family.

Strangers

Nonfiction by Emma Tennant

Strangers is a literary memoir by the Scottish novelist Emma Tennant: “a brilliant book about the extraordinary and eccentric Tennant family” (Antonia Fraser). The story begins in 1912, as the world is about to break into war. Emma’s great-aunt, Margot Asquith (wife of Britain’s Prime Minister), maintains an ongoing feud with Emma’s grandmother, the dreamy and beautiful Pamela. Pamela’s son Bim dies on the Somme, and his sacrifice is accepted “as if death lies in the faint outline of garden where it merges with rushes and reedbeds.” Gradually, we encounter Emma herself, a lonely child left at the family estate, Glen, during World War II, witnessing the mysterious comings and goings of her extended family including her aunt, the wayward, thrice-married Clare. The penultimate chapter portrays the decline of Emma’s uncle, the famous aesthete Stephen Tennant, who was written about by V. S. Naipaul in The Enigma of Arrival. Deeply evocative and atmospheric, and written with stunning detail, Strangers is, as Publishers Weekly explains, “a provocative meditation on the ways that the past informs the present and on the simultaneous importance and unreliability of memory.”

Editions: PaperbackClothbound

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Paperback (published June 1, 2003)

ISBN
9780811215305
Price US
14.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
192

Clothbound (published June 1, 2003)

ISBN
9780811214094
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
192

Emma Tennant

Contemporary British novelist

Emma Tennant's memoir reads like the account of a young girl's dream––a castle, secret rooms, overheard conversations, a brilliant harried prime minister and his formidable wife, Margot Asquith, as well as an entire generation of prince charmings alive, one moment, on old lawns, and next gone in the First War, ghosts in the attics.
—Gore Vidal