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July 20 , 2008

Basil Street Blues: A Family Story


Michael Holroyd - the most famous biographer in Britain - turns his attention upon himself and his own family in Basil Street Blues (the title comes from the Basil Street Hotel where the author was conceived in the 1930s). Born into a family rich in eccentricity, Holroyd was largely brought up by his grandparents in Maidenhead because his exotic Swedish mother and reserved English father couldn't stand living together. (His grandparents' marriage provided no better model - his grandfather having had a four-year affair with a woman he met at a bus stop before coming back to his grandmother). Towards the end of Holroyd's parents' lives he persuaded them to write their own stories and using the results, plus his own memories and researches he has written this moving and self-revealing book.

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