Random House, Inc. A wonderful new collection of short stories, most of which are published here for the first time.
Wallis Simpson, the twice-divorced American woman for whom Edward VIII abdicated in 1936, ended her life (as the Duchess of Windsor) as the prisoner of her lawyer who would not allow anyone — friend, foe or journalist — to visit her in her Paris flat. Rose Tremain takes this true story and transforms it into an imaginative and ironic fiction. Her thesis is that Wallis, gaga and bed-ridden, had forgotten the king who gave up an empire for love of her.
This superb story plays with the selectiveness of memory: why does Wallis recall the seemingly unimportant, while forgetting the glory days of her notoriety? She can remember her first two husbands — one a bit of a brute, the other very boring — but not the world-famous third one.
The other stories in this magnificent collection range over a variety of themes, equally original and unexpected: an East German border guard, redundant after the Berlin Wall comes down in 1989, imagines that he might still have a purpose in life. He tries to reach Russia by bicycling across the hostile wastes of Poland. A jilted man gets his revenge. A baby grows wings. A character in an Impressionist painting escapes from his “frame” — or does he? And there’s a Christmas story set in a seedy hotel.
Gardners Wallis Simpson, for whom Edward VIII abdicated in 1936, ended her life as the prisoner of her lawyer who would not allow anyone visit her in her Paris flat. This novel takes this true story and transforms it into an imaginative and ironic fiction. The other stories in this collection range over a variety of themes, equally original and unexpected.
Blackwell North Amer Yes, everybody knows the glamorous story of Wallis Simpson, the twice-divorced American woman for whom King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936. But what few people know is how darkly the story ended. Wallis Simpson spent her final days in Paris, bedridden in a shadowy room, the virtual prisoner of Maitre Suzanne Blum, her domineering and possessive French lawyer, who wanted to control everything belonging to the once-elegant Wallis, and most especially her intimate memories of love.