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The Three of Us: A Family Storyby Julia Blackburn
Synopses & Reviews
This is the story of three people: Julia Blackburn; her father, Thomas; and her mother, Rosalie. Thomas was a poet and an alcoholic who for many years was addicted to barbiturates, which would often make him violent. Rosalie, a painter, was sociable and flirtatious; she treated Julia as her sister, her confidante, and eventually as her deadly sexual rival. After Julias parents divorced, her mother took in lodgers, always men, on the understanding that each would become her lover. When one of the lodgers started an affair with Julia, Rosalie was devastated; when he later committed suicide, the relationship between mother and daughter was shattered irrevocable.
Or so it seems until the spring of 1999, when Rosalie, diagnosed with leukemia, came to live with Julia for the last month of her life. At last the spell was broken, and they were able to talk with an ease they had never known before. When she was very near the end, Rosalie said to Julia, “Now you will be able to write about me, wont you?”
The Three of Us is a memoir like no other you have read. The writing is magical, and the story is extraordinary, not only for its honest but also for its humor and its lack of blame. Ultimately, this is a tale of redemption, a love story. It will surely become one of the classics of that genre.
"English writer Blackburn (Daisy Bates in the Desert) had two extraordinary parents, poet Thomas Blackburn and painter Rosalie de Meric. Her utterly doting father, who'd sit on the toilet seat and recite poetry with her when she bathed, eventually died of the alcohol and pill addictions that fueled his adult life. Both parents entertained long lists of lovers. After they separated, Julia (who was born in 1948) lived mostly with her mother, who painted heavily symbolic nudes and ethereal landscapes, and the young 'boarders' her mother was forever trying to seduce. As Julia grew older, Rosalie worried that her pubescent daughter was becoming more enticing; enraged, she'd goad Julia into flirtations and then accuse her of spoiling Rosalie's romances. Julia steered clear of most of her parents' sexual nonsense, except for a significant affair with one of her mother's ex-lovers that ended with his suicide. Using excerpts from her own journal, snippets from her mother's papers and her father's poetry, Julia gradually came to terms with something her father told her, that 'we chose our parents' so 'we must forgive them, if we are to forgive ourselves.' Her father wasn't the problem — as bizarrely as he behaved, she'd never 'felt threatened' by him. Instead, it's her mother's endless anger that's the vortex of this strangely compelling memoir. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The highly acclaimed author of "Daisy Bates in the Desert" and "With Billie" presents the story of her own difficult coming of age, and of the intricate tangle of her relationship with her parents. of b&w illustrations.
About the Author
Julia Blackburn is the author of seven books of nonfiction, including Old Man Goya, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and With Billie, which won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award; and of the novels The Book of Color and The Lepers Companions, both of which were short-listed for the Orange Prize. She lives in England.
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