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Kiss Me Goodbye, Ferdinand Mount’s personal memoir of his mysterious millionaire Aunt Munca, dances with evocative detail - of people, place and period - and is an affectionate, fascinating delight.
Elegantly appointed mansions. Upper echelon entertaining. Exuberant outings in a Rolls-Royce - these are among the author’s early memories (from 1945) of his enigmatic, affectionate Aunt Betty, who asks to be called Munca after a Beatrix Potter mouse. But through time, and little by little, big questions begin to gnaw - where did Aunt Munca’s adopted daughter go, and why? Why did she force her daughter to break-off her engagement to David Dimbleby? Why did Munca never mention her first marriage? Having seen “just enough through the half-open door into the next room”, the author cannot resist entering the next room: “I had tugged the thread and I could not resist following it to the end.”
And so an exhilarating quest to untangle Munca’s truths begins. It’s a thrilling edge-of-your-seat journey as Mount uncovers documents, photos and articles that reveal the many fabrications of his mysterious Aunt Munca, and other family members. The tangled threads take tenacious Mount from mid-century high society to the back streets of industrial Sheffield, and wind-up with an unexpectedly joyous find.
Aunt Munca never told the truth about anything. Calling herself after the mouse in a Beatrix Potter story, she was already a figure of mystery during the childhood of her nephew Ferdinand Mount. Half a century later, a series of startling revelations sets him off on a tortuous quest to find out who this extraordinary millionairess really was. What he discovers is shocking and irretrievably sad, involving multiple deceptions, false identities and abandonments. The story leads us from the back streets of Sheffield at the end of the Victorian age to the highest echelons of English society between the wars.
Kiss Myself Goodbye is both an enchanting personal memoir like the author's bestselling Cold Cream, and a voyage into a vanished moral world. An unconventional tale of British social history told backwards, its cryptic and unforgettable protagonist Munca joins the ranks of memorable aunts in literature, from Dickens' Betsy Trotwood to Graham Greene's Aunt Augusta.
Closing date: 12/03/2021
Aunt Munca flees the streets of Sheffield for a suite at Claridges, getting younger by the year and leaving behind her a trail of brazen lies and shattered pieties. In his family memoir, Ferdinand Mount pursues her with wit and skill through a career in which crime pays, marriage is for a week, and children are lost like old gloves. Kiss Myself Goodbye is grimly funny and superbly written, with a twist on every page. - Hilary Mantel, author of the Wolf Hall Trilogy
Delightfully compulsive and unforgettably original. Mount unpeels the layers of this mysterious life with the tenacity of an experienced detective and the excitement of a fresh-eyed enthusiast. - Hadley Freeman, author of House of Glass: The Story and Secrets of a Twentieth-Century Jewish Family
Publication date: 29/10/2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
|Publication date:||29th October 2020|
|Publisher:||Bloomsbury Continuum an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, History,|
|Categories:||Autobiography: general, Memoirs, Family history, tracing ancestors,|
Ferdinand Mount was born in 1939. For many years he was a columnist at the Spectator and then the Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times. In between, he was head of the Downing Street Policy Unit and then editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He is now a prize-winning novelist, author of the bestselling memoir Cold Cream, and most recently the controversial The New Few. He lives in London.More About Ferdinand Mount