Synopses & Reviews
Born in the 1920s to nomadic, bohemian parents, Paula Fox is left at birth in a Manhattan orphanage, then cared for by a poor yet cultivated minister in upstate New York. Her parents, however, soon resurface. Her handsome father is a hard-drinking screenwriter who is, for young Paula, "part ally, part betrayer." Her mother is given to icy bursts of temper that punctuate a deep indifference. How, Fox wonders, is this woman "enough of an organic being to have carried me in her belly"?
Never sharing more than a few moments with his daughter, Fox's father allows her to be shuttled from New York City, where she lives with her passive Spanish grandmother, to Cuba, where she roams freely on a relative's sugarcane plantation, to California, where she finds herself cast upon Hollywood's seedy margins. The thread binding these wanderings is the "borrowed finery" of the title-a few pieces of clothing, almost always lent by kindhearted strangers, which offer Fox a rare glimpse of permanency.
Instantly embraced by reviewers and readers as a classic, this astonishing memoir of a writer's highly unusual beginnings is unforgettable.
An eloquent, disturbing memoir by a noted author detailing her life as the child of nomadic, bohemian parents who left her at birth at a Manhattan orphanage in the 1920s, only to resurface and allow her to be shuttled from New York to Cuba to California.
About the Author
Paula Fox is the author of five novels, including Desperate Characters
, The Widow's Children
, and Poor George
. She is also a Newberry Award-winning children's book author. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.