Format Type: PDF
Read Online: 757
An extraordinary memoir by Iris Origo, who chronicled political life in A Chill in the Air and War in Val d'Orcia, and now turns inward to describe her own family, the work of writing, and the transcience of memory. Images and Shadows: Part of a Life, Iris Origo's autobiographical account of her early life, is as extraordinarily perceptive and humane and as beautifully written as her celebrated memoir War in Val d'Orcia. Her father came from an old and moneyed American family, her mother was the daughter of an Irish peer, and Origo grew up under the most privileged of circumstances, moving between family estates in Long Island and Ireland while also traveling the world. Tragedy struck when her father, not yet thirty, died of tuberculosis and at his request ("Bring her up where she does not belong," he had enjoined his wife), her mother moved them to Fiesole, where they developed a close friendship with their neighbor, the influential American connoisseur and art historian--as well as a great and fascinating character--Bernard Berenson. Introduced early to both American and British high society, Origo eventually found fulfillment in tending to the life of the desolate and deforested country estate she and her Italian husband bought in Italy, which is where she also discovered her true calling as a writer. In Images and Shadows she paints portraits of her shy, loving father and her headstrong mother, describes beloved places, the books that formed her sensibility, and how she grew up and made her way in the world. She reflects on the pleasures and challenges of writing and evokes both the persistence and fragility of memory. Images and Shadows is an autobiography that is as thoughtful as it is profoundly touching.