Marilyn's image is so universal that we can't help but believe we know all there is to know of her. Every word and gesture made headlines and garnered controversy. Her serious gifts as an actor were sometimes eclipsed by her notoriety—and by the way the camera fell helplessly in love with her.
Beyond the headlines—and the too-familiar stories of heartbreak and desolation—was a woman far more curious, searching, witty, and hopeful than the one the world got to know. Now, for the first time, readers can meet the private Marilyn and understand her in a way we never have before. Fragments is an unprecedented collection of written artifacts—notes to herself, letters, even poems—in Marilyn's own handwriting, never before published, along with rarely seen intimate photos.
Jotted in notebooks, typed on paper, or written on hotel letterhead, these texts reveal a woman who loved deeply and strove to perfect her craft. They show a Marilyn Monroe unsparing in her analysis of her own life, but also playful, funny, and impossibly charming. The easy grace and deceptive lightness that made her performances indelible emerge on the page, as does the simmering tragedy that made her last appearances so affecting.
Michael Morpurgo OBE is a national treasure. With books such as ‘Private Peaceful’, ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’ and ‘The Wreck of the Zanzibar’ he has enchanted a whole generation of children, weaving stories for them in a way that is neither contrived nor condescending. His is a rare gift.
In 2007, Michael’s novel ‘War Horse’ was adapted for the stage by the National Theatre. Five years on, it continues to play to packed audiences of all ages and has been turned into a blockbuster film by Steven Spielberg, propelling Morpurgo to household-name status.
Michael’s own story is as strange and surprising as any he has written, and is shot through with the same thread of sadness found in almost all his work. How did this supremely unbookish boy who dreamed of becoming an army officer become a bestselling author and Children’s Laureate instead? What personal price has he paid for success? And why, amidst his triumphs, is he now haunted by regret?
In a unique collaboration, Maggie Fergusson explores Michael Morpurgo’s life through seven biographical chapters, to which he responds with seven stories. The portrait that emerges is one of light and shade: the light very bright, the shade complex and often painful.
Celebrated in his prime, forgotten in his final years, only to be championed anew by our greatest contemporary authors, Richard Yates has always exposed readers to the unsettling hypocrisies of our modern age. Classic novels such as Revolutionary Road and The Easter Parade are incomparable chronicles of the quiet and not-so-quiet desperation of the American middle-class. Lonely housewives, addled businessmen, desperate career-girls and fearful boys and soldiers, Yates's America was a panorama of high living, self-doubt and self-deception. And in the tradition of other great realistic writers of his time (Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Cheever and Updike), Yates's fictional world mirrored his own. A manic-depressive alcoholic and unapologetic gentleman, his life was a hornets' nest of childhood ghosts, the horrors of war, money woes, and ebullient cocktailed evenings in New York, Hollywood, and the Riviera.
A Tragic Honesty is a masterful evocation of a man who in many ways embodied the struggles of the Great American Writer in the latter half of the twentieth century. Fame and reward followed by heartbreak and obscurity, Richard Yates here stands for what the writer must sacrifice for his craft, the devil's bargain of artistry for happiness, praise for sanity.