Borrowed Finery

Borrowed Finery

A Memoir

Book - 2001
Average Rating:
1
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
Born to nomadic and bohemian parents who rarely had time for her, the author presents a dramatic portrait of her childhood, detailing her many homes, from living in an orphanage in Manhattan to roaming free on a relative's sugar plantation in Cuba, where she acquired a few pieces of clothing from strangers that gave her a shred of permanency. 25,000 first printing.

McMillan Palgrave
An exotic, heartbreaking memoir that should finally earn Paula Fox, a distinguished novelist and children's book writer, the audience she has for decades deserved

Paula Fox has long been acclaimed as one of America's most brilliant fiction writers. Borrowed Finery, her first book in nearly a decade, is an astonishing memoir of her highly unusual beginnings.

Born in the twenties to nomadic, bohemian parents, 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 wonder, 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 shunted from New York City, where she lives with her passive Spanish grandmother, to Cuba, where she roams freely on a relative's sugar-cane plantation, to California, where she finds herself cast upon Hollywood's grubby margins. The thread binding these wanderings is the "borrowed finery" of the title-a few pieces of clothing, almost always lent by kind-hearted strangers, that offer Fox a rare glimpse of permanency.

Vivid and poetic, Borrowed Finery is an unforgettable book which will swell the legions of Paula Fox's devoted admiriers.


Blackwell North Amer
Born in the twenties to nomadic, bohemian parents, Paula Fox is left at birth in a Manhattan orphanage. Rescued at the last moment, she is taken into the care of a poor but cultivated Congregational minister in upstate New York. But her parents soon resurface. Her handsome father is a hard-drinking raconteur and screenwriter (among his credits is The Last Train to Madrid, called by Graham Greene "the worst movie I ever saw") who is, for young Paula, "part ally, part betrayer." Her mother, a frightening, infrequent presence, 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 scattered moments with their daughter, Fox's parents shuttle her from one exotic place to another. In New York City she lives with her passive Spanish grandmother. In Cuba she wanders about freely on a sugarcane plantation owned by a wealthy distant relative. In Florida she is left with a housekeeper she has known only for days. In California she finds herself cast away on the dismal margins of Hollywood. Throughout, famous actors and literary celebrities glitteringly appear and then fade away - John Wayne, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Maxwell Perkins, Orson Welles, James Cagney, and Stella Adler, to name a few. The thread binding Fox's wanderings is the "borrowed finery" of the title - a few pieces of clothing, almost always lent by kindhearted strangers, that offer Fox a rare glimpse of permanency.

Baker
& Taylor

Born to nomadic and bohemian parents who rarely had time for her, the author presents a portrait of her childhood, detailing her many homes, from an orphanage in Manhattan to a sugar plantation in Cuba.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt, 2001
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780805068153
0805068155
Branch Call Number: B FOX
Characteristics: 210 p. : ill. ; 22 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

u
uncommonreader
Mar 24, 2015

Fox recounts some incidents in her peripatetic life, the daughter of self-absorbed and indifferent parents who abandon her throughout her childhood. They are truly horrible. The memoir is structured around the many places where she was left to live with strangers - California, New York, Cuba ... and is about the impact of her parents' behaviour on her rather than about them. It is well-told, in a completely unsentimental way.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at DPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top