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The Girl from the Fiction Department : A Portrait of Sonia Orwell

Spurling, Hilary
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Published: June 5, 2003
ISBN: 9780141008172
208 pages

£9.99

Absorbing and provocative, a biography of George Orwell’s controversial second wife from the Whitbread Prize-winning author of Matisse the Master and Anthony PowellJust three months before his death, the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four took a new wife. Sonia Brownell was model for Julia in Orwell’s most famous novel, she was fifteen years younger than her husband, and after his death she was hounded and pilloried as a manipulative gold-digger who would stop at nothing to keep control of the literary legacy. But the truth about Sonia was altogether different.

Beautiful, intelligent and fiercely idealistic, she lived at the heart of London’s literary and artistic scene before her marriage to Orwell changed her life for ever. Those who knew her – Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus – witnessed her great personal generosity. And yet, burdened with the almost impossible task of protecting Orwell’s intellectual estate, Sonia’s loyalty to her late husband brought her nothing but poverty and despair.

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