Synopses & Reviews
When Allegra Huston was four years old, her mother was killed in a car crash. Soon afterward, she was introduced to an intimidating man wreathed in cigar smoke -- the legendary film director John Huston -- with the words, "This is your father."
So began an extraordinary odyssey: from the magical Huston estate in Ireland to the Long Island suburbs to a hidden paradise in Mexico -- and, at the side of her older sister, Anjelica, into the hilltop retreats of Jack Nicholson, Ryan O'Neal, and Marlon Brando. Allegra's is the penetrating gaze of an outsider never quite sure if she belongs in this rarefied world and of a motherless child trying to make sense of her famous, fragmented family. Then, at the age of twelve, Allegra's precarious sense of self was shattered when she was, once more, introduced to her father -- her real one this time, the British aristocrat and historian John Julius Norwich.
At the heart of Love Child is Allegra's search through the unreliable certainties of memory for the widely adored mother she never knew -- the ghost who shadowed her childhood and left her in a web of awkward and unwelcome truths. With clear-eyed tenderness, Allegra tells of how she forged bonds with both her famous fathers, transforming her mother's difficult legacy into a hard-won blessing. Beautifully written and forensically honest, Love Child is a seductive insight into one of Hollywood's great dynasties and the story of how, in a family that defied convention, one woman found her balance on the shifting sands of conflicting loyalties.
"Huston's memoir begins when she is five years old, learning of her mother's death from her godfather. Although she is sent to live with her father, the film director John Huston, he is an intermittent presence in her life. Then, when she is 12, Allegra's stepmother informs her that her real father is the British historian John Julius Norwich. Huston, who spent several years as an editor in British publishing before creating a writers' workshop in New Mexico, skillfully integrates her childhood memories with revelations from her mother's correspondence, recounting her often-awkward encounters with 'my dad' (Huston) and 'my father' (Norwich) with great sensitivity. Although she spent part of her adolescence living with her older sister, Anjelica, there isn't much in the way of Hollywood gossip beyond fleeting scenes of Marlon Brando playing chess and verbal abuse from Ryan O'Neal. Instead, the emphasis lies in young Allegra's constant feelings of alienation and the subtle development of familial affections that culminate with Hustons and Norwichs coming together to witness the christening of her own son. Where many memoirists compete to see who's had the most outrageous life, this story stands out in its quiet poignancy. 16 pages of b&w photographs not seen by PW." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A deeply moving memoir, "Love Child" tells of Huston's famous and fragmented family--she is the third child from actor/director John Huston's fourth wife--and the extraordinary revelation that turned her world upside down. b&w photographs.
About the Author
Allegra Huston was born in London and raised in Ireland, Long Island, and Los Angeles. She has worked with ChattoandWindus publishers in London and WeidenfeldandNicolson, where she was Editorial Director from 1990 to 1994. She has been a freelance writer and editor for more than ten years; her work has appeared in The Times, the Independent, the Tatler, and Harper's Bazaar (all in the UK), in French Vogue, and in the U.S. in People, the Santa Fean, and Mothering. She lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her six-year-old son, Rafa, and his father, Cisco Guevara.