By Paula Fox
Born within the Twenties to nomadic, bohemian mom and dad, Paula Fox is left at delivery in a new york orphanage, then cared for through a negative but cultivated minister in upstate long island. Her mom and dad, despite the fact that, quickly resurface. Her good-looking father is a hard-drinking screenwriter who's, for younger Paula, "part best friend, half betrayer." Her mom is given to icy bursts of mood that punctuate a deep indifference. by no means sharing quite a lot of moments along with his daughter, Fox's father permits her to be shuttled from ny urban, the place she lives along with her passive Spanish grandmother, to Cuba, the place she roams freely on a relative's sugarcane plantation, to California, the place she unearths herself solid upon Hollywood's seedy margins. The thread binding those wanderings is the "borrowed finery" of the identify of this striking memoir of 1 writer's strange beginnings, which used to be immediately famous as a contemporary classic.
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Additional info for Borrowed Finery: A Memoir
I presumed I observed the surface tighten. I heard my father say, as we walked clear of the automobile, “He has a home at the island. ” He appeared apologetic, weakened, and that i considered how the notability of a guy turns every body round him into beggars. * * * I observed a dartboard putting at the eating room wall. Daddy stated dartboards hung in all of the pubs in England and defined how the sport was once performed. A handful of darts lay within reach. I picked up one and threw it. It landed at the tip of one other that was once already within the bull’s-eye. Daddy, passing at that second, acknowledged, “I’ll provide you with 100 greenbacks should you do this back. ” He rigorously got rid of the dart I had thrown. I threw one other, feeling possessed by way of darkish powers, and observed the thrown dart quivering in any case of the 1st. “My God! ” he shouted. “You did it! ” My mom entered the room frowning. while she’d heard what he’d promised me, she exclaimed fiercely, “Puppy! You can’t! You can’t do this! ” yet he did, protecting out crumpled debts to me that I passed over to my grandmother. It used to be extra proof of my bad character—in my mother’s eyes and in mine. i used to be assailed through anonymous fears. I stared on the dartboard as though it might probably inform me what I had performed. After our go back to Kew Gardens, my grandmother obtained me a wintry weather coat with a part of the winnings. What she did with the remainder of it, I don’t be aware of. My mom retired to her mattress, the place she spent the remainder of the day, a hot-water bottle on her stomach. I heard my father’s voice as he took her cups of sizzling water to ease the discomfort of the “gut hassle” she was once at risk of. My grandmother and that i crept round the condominium, making an attempt to not make noise. Elsie’s distress despatched out waves of repressive holiness. * * * Daddy and that i took an extended stroll alongside an ocean seashore a couple of miles from Edgartown. It used to be a wintry weather sea, the air damp, the water the colour of gunmetal. because the light surf broke at our ft, Daddy talked. in contrast to the final time while he had spoken of books, he was once sober. the inner of the rustic used to be abhorrent to him. He feared these significant stretches of prairie and mountain, these flat plains, the cities and towns populated by way of characters out of major highway, these Babbitts— “What are they? ” I interrupted. “Sinclair Lewis wrote novels approximately them,” he spoke back, with a large gesture of his arm that took within the entire seashore and the bluffs above it. He had desired to be a instructor, he stated. yet he had offered a narrative to shrewdpermanent Set. a number of days later, the phone rang within the Morningside apartment he lived in then along with his relations. He used to be nineteen and dazed by means of the decision from H. L. Mencken, the editor of the journal. Mencken invited him to lunch at Delmonico’s. He have been so crushed he couldn’t even look on the menu and ordered scrambled eggs. within the overdue Twenties and early Thirties, my father was once writing screenplays for a Hollywood studio, in addition to different scriptwriters. He used to be consuming a lot. So was once F. Scott Fitzgerald, whom he knew. “A minor poet,” he acknowledged dismissively. one of many humans he was once as regards to was once Vincent Lawrence, the fellow who had met my teach from Redlands and brought me to the miniature golfing path.