Emma Reyes - The Book of Emma Reyes - Orion Publishing Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Paperback £8.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9781474606615
    • Publication date:09 Aug 2018

The Book of Emma Reyes

A Memoir in Correspondence

By Emma Reyes

  • E-Book
  • £P.O.R.

The extraordinary, posthumously published memoir in letters of a Colombian artist whose writing was championed by Gabriel García Márquez

This astonishing memoir of a childhood lived in extreme poverty in Latin America was hailed as an instant classic when first published in Colombia in 2012, nine years after the death of its author, who was encouraged in her writing by Gabriel García Márquez. Comprised of letters written over the course of thirty years, it describes in vivid, painterly detail the remarkable courage and limitless imagination of a young girl growing up with nothing.

Emma was an illegitimate child, raised in a windowless room in Bogotá with no water or toilet and only ingenuity to keep her and her sister alive. Abandoned by their mother, she and her sister moved to a convent housing 150 orphan girls, where they washed pots, ironed and mended laundry, scrubbed floors, cleaned bathrooms, and sewed garments and decorative cloths for church. Illiterate and knowing nothing of the outside world, Emma escaped at age nineteen, eventually coming to have a career as an artist and to befriend the likes of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Far from self-pitying, the portrait that emerges from this clear-eyed account inspires awe at the stunning early life of a gifted writer whose talent remained hidden for far too long.

Biographical Notes

Emma Reyes (1919-2003) was a Colombian painter and intellectual whose letters were first published in 2012. She grew up in extreme poverty and escaped a convent for orphan girls at age nineteen. Illiterate, she travelled wherever she could and dedicated most of her life to painting and drawing, slowly breaking through as an artist and forging friendships with some of the most distinguished European and Latin American artists, writers and intellectuals of the twentieth century. She lived in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Jerusalem, Washington and Rome before settling in Paris. The year she passed away, the French government named her a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781474606622
  • Publication date: 24 Aug 2017
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: W&N
The moment I finished this memoir I read it again - one simply can't abandon Emma. And I've been speculating ever since about how she made it once she'd escaped her terrible childhood. One is deeply grateful to know as a fact - an almost inconceivable fact - that she triumphed, but longs to know how. No other book I've ever read has left me so deeply involved with its author, and so grateful for that involvement — DIANA ATHILL
Unadulteratedly good, interesting and important. Emma's letters remind me what reading and writing are for — LOUISA YOUNG
What an astonishing book - I read it in a single gulp. Emma Reyes had a childhood of staggering deprivation but her humour and resilience shine through, and suddenly we have a modern classic — DEBORAH MOGGACH
A jewel of a book. Emma is a mesmerising storyteller and her letters had me completely gripped from beginning to end — NINA STIBBE
As poetic as it is horrific. The young Emma injects magic into the realism and vice versa - not for nothing is Reyes a compatriot of Márquez . . . an act of freedom both intimate and epic — Ed Vuilliamy, OBSERVER
Startling and astringently poetic . . . It's not hard to see what Márquez admired in [Reyes'] writing . . . she has a similar gift for relating extraordinary moments with a straight face, making them seem even more otherworldly. The most sophisticated aspect of this book is just how meticulously Reyes maintains the perspective of a child throughout . . . moving . . . potent and, against all odds, even lovely — THE NEW YORK TIMES
A mesmerising account full of the most striking details. Reading her words pitches the reader head first into a wondrous, terrifying world — Eithne Farry, SUNDAY EXPRESS
The memoir, in letters, of the Colombian artist Emma Reyes, takes you from her birth in a Bogota slum to the artistic circles of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. It's totally transporting — Sam Baker, THE POOL
An incredible biography by any measure, but the book's most startling element is Reyes's clear-sighted, unsentimental remembrance of her difficult childhood — PARIS REVIEW
Reading the letters collected in this striking memoir, it is hard not to keep returning to the fact that their author was completely illiterate until her late teens...So eloquently does Reyes depict herself as a flawed witness to her own life that what emerges, paradoxically, is the portrait of a brilliantly assured observer and writer. It is Reyes's natural talent, even more than her story, that makes The Book of Emma Reyes remarkable — TLS
Some works of art feel more unlikely, more miraculous than others, and Emma Reyes's remarkable epistolary memoir is one of them. I don't think I've read many books of such power and grace, or that pack such an emotional wallop in so short a space. The very fact that this book exists is extraordinary. Everything about it . . . is astonishing — DANIEL ALARCÓN, from the Introduction
Trapeze

Dogs With Jobs

Laura Greaves
Authors:
Laura Greaves

Meet Molly Polly, the diabetes alert dog whose round-the-clock job is to keep her two young owners healthy; Bailey, the Assistant Director of Seagulls, who keeps the pesky birds away from the heritage vessels at the Australian National Maritime Museum; and Daisy, the Collie mix who's a full-time guide dog for another dog. From inspirational moments of bravery to dogs doing the jobs that no one else can, these are the life-affirming stories of the most remarkable dogs on the planet.

W&N

My Notebook

Eric Cantona
Authors:
Eric Cantona
W&N

The Company of Trees

Thomas Pakenham
Authors:
Thomas Pakenham

'The master. Puts all other modern tree-writers in the shade' John Lewis-Stempel, author of MeadowlandThomas Pakenham is an indefatigable champion of trees. In The Company of Trees he recounts his personal quest to establish a large arboretum on the family estate, Tullynally in Ireland; his forays to other tree-filled parks and plantations; his often hazardous seed-hunting expeditions; and his efforts to preserve magnificent old trees and historic woodlands.Whether writing about the terrible storms breaking the backs of hundred-year-old trees or a fire in the peat bog on Tullynally which threatens to spread to the main commercial spruce-woods, his fear of climate change and disease, or the sturdy young saplings giving him hope for the future, his book is never less than enthralling.

Orion

The Arrangement

Sonya Lalli
Authors:
Sonya Lalli
W&N

Splendours and Miseries: The Roy Strong Diaries, 1967-87

Roy Strong
Authors:
Roy Strong

'The Alan Clark diaries of cultural politics' Sunday Times'At every word a reputation dies' A. N. WilsonRoy Strong is best known as the flamboyant former director of two great cultural institutions - the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum. In his first volume of diaries, he takes the reader into the heart of his career, revealing himself to be not just a mercurial and brilliant administrator, but also a shrewd observer of the glittering and political milieu into which he was drawn.We encounter David Hockney in his studio, the poignant figure of Cecil Beaton in decline, Nureyev fizzing with ideas and the Philistine Mrs Thatcher among many others, including a bevy of the Royal Family. And throughout the diaries runs the thread of an exceptional marriage, following his elopement with the designer Julia Trevelyan Oman.Splendours and Miseries provides a unique panorama of the world of the arts, fashion and society, taking us from the outrageous Swinging Sixties to the hard-edged glitz of Thatcher's Britain.

W&N

I Must Belong Somewhere

Jonathan Dean
Authors:
Jonathan Dean

'An extraordinary family tale of survival' Sunday TimesJonathan Dean's great-grandfather, David Schapira, fled the Russian threat in Ukraine for Vienna in 1914. Blinded in the First World War, he survived to find love and start a family, only to be sent to a concentration camp during the next war. David's son, Heinz, was also a refugee. In 1939, aged 16, he embarked on a nail-biting journey to London, to escape his fate as an Austrian Jew. Drawing on David's memoir and Heinz's wartime diaries, Dean visits the places that changed the course of his family tree - Vienna, Cologne, Ukraine - where he finds history repeating itself and meets a new wave of people leaving loved ones for an uncertain future.I Must Belong Somewhere is an unforgettable family tale of exile and survival, and a powerful meditation on what it means to be a refugee today.

W&N

Waiting for the Albino Dunnock

Rosamond Richardson
Authors:
Rosamond Richardson

'A beautiful book' Tim Birkhead, author of Bird Sense'The prose is sublime, and so is the intelligence behind it' Bel Mooney, Daily MailThe extraordinary world of birds has the power to change lives, as it did the author's. The pleasure and fascination of bird-watching, together with the silence and stillness involved, can play a part in changing the way that we live our lives - and can help us when we have to deal with adversity.Personal and elegiac, Waiting for the Albino Dunnock shows us how beauty is central to our emotional wellbeing, and reminds us of the careless damage we are inflicting on the natural world. This glorious pilgrimage into the soaring world of birds opens our eyes afresh to the beauty which surrounds us.

W&N

Close But No Cigar

Stephen Purvis
Authors:
Stephen Purvis

WINNER OF THE CRIME WRITERS' ASSOCIATION GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION 2017'In its tragic absurdity, Close But No Cigar reads like a Graham Greene story, with a cast of characters to make Hemingway proud' Daily TelegraphFor over a decade Stephen Purvis had been a pillar of Havana's expat community, one of many foreign businessmen investing in Cuba's crawl from Cold War communism towards modernity. But for reasons unknown to him he was also under State Security's microscope. One morning during the height of President Raúl Castro's purges in 2012, while his family slept the unmarked Ladas of State Security arrived at his home and he was taken away into the absurd and brutal world of Cuban justice.In this engrossing memoir, Purvis recounts his fifteen-month ordeal. Accused at first of selling state secrets, he is taken to the notorious interrogation centre Villa Marista, where he endures brutal conditions designed by the KGB and Stasi to break the bodies and minds of spies and political prisoners, and resists the paranoia and incompetence of his jailers. Later, held in a maximum-security prison, he finds himself surrounded by a motley crew of convicts: people-smugglers and drug-runners together with a handful of confused businessmen also awaiting formal charges.From his arrest to his farcical secret trial and sudden release, Purvis exposes the madness of modern Cuba with wit, grit and a sharp eye for character. As tourists flock to Havana to marvel at a city frozen in time, he shows that despite reforms and international reconciliation the Castro regime remains a corrupt, dictatorial relic. Close But No Cigar is part thriller, part comedy and part morality tale, but most of all a true story that takes the reader into a dark side of a sunny place that remains an enigma.

Orion

Around the Village Green

Dot May Dunn
Authors:
Dot May Dunn

The heart-warming tale of a wartime childhood.It's 1939 and little Dot May Dun is playing with her brothers in the quiet lanes of their Derbyshire village. The grown-ups' talk of war means very little to Dot but things are starting to change in the village, for good.When a prisoner of war camp is built close to Dot's village, and a Yankee base is stationed nearby, Dot makes friends with the most unlikely of soldiers. But her friendships are threatened when telegrams start to arrive in the village and the real impact of war bears heavily on this close-knit mining community.From little lives spring great tales. Dot's childhood memoir shares the universals of innocence, love, loss and friendships. THE VILLAGE will move and entertain in equal measures.

Orion

Great Bales of Fire

Malcolm Castle
Authors:
Malcolm Castle

More tales of a country fireman, from the author of ALL FIRED UP. Perfect for fans of Heartbeat or Last of the Summer Wine.It's the early 1980s and rookie fireman Malcolm Castle is set to take on the biggest challenge of his life. After three years bouncing around in the back of the country fire-engine, he's about to start driving it! At just 22-years-old - less than half the age of many of his colleagues - he's set to thunder through the narrow streets of one of England's most beautiful medieval towns and speed out across the glorious Shropshire countryside. But while his responsibilities are changing fast, almost everything else in Malcolm's life stays the same. Despite facing his fair share of car accidents, house and farm fires, he still seems to spend an awful lot of time answering a string of unlikely and unexpected emergency calls. He rescues shortsighted dogs from frozen lakes, newborn lambs from flooded golf-courses, a pair of angry cows from a busy dual carriageway - and even a hot-footed hamster from a burning cage. Backed up by a heartwarming cast of fellow firemen, Malcolm's enthusiasm for his job and his life are as infectious as ever. So whether it is cats up trees or trees on cars, follow Malcolm as he takes to the wheel for another crazy year in the country fire brigade.Told with the same gentle humour as his first book, ALL FIRED UP, and full of even more extraordinary real-life anecdotes, Shropshire's longest-serving fireman is back - a little older, a little wiser, and even more convinced he has the best job in the world.

W&N

The Vanished Landscape

Paul Johnson
Authors:
Paul Johnson
Orion

The Children's Nurse

Susan Macqueen
Authors:
Susan Macqueen

The memoir of a Great Ormond Street nurse.This is the inspirational story of life as a nurse during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, most of which was spent at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. Susan Macqueen was 12 years old when she accompanied her mum to see her friend Ms Fairweather, the matron at the local nursing home and from that day on she knew she wanted to be a nurse. A few years later, despite being told that her grades weren't good enough and having left school with only two O-Levels, Susan was accepted on the three-year nurses training course at Addenbooke's hospital in Cambridge. It wasn't long before Susan knew she wanted to work with children and set her sights on a job at Great Ormond Street. Thirty-five years later, on her third attempt, Susan has finally retired from that iconic hospital and is enjoying a more leisurely pace of life.Hope, despair, laughter and tears, Susan's stories move the reader through the incredible stories that she was faced with on an every day basis.

W&N

The John Lennon Letters

John Lennon, Hunter Davies
Authors:
John Lennon, Hunter Davies
W&N

Rainbow's End

Lauren St John
Authors:
Lauren St John

A captivating and haunting memoir by celebrated children's author Lauren St John about her childhood spent in rural Africa.In 1978, during the final, bloodiest phase of the Rhodesian War, 11-year-old Lauren St John moved with her family to Rainbow's End, and idyllic farm and game reserve on the banks of the Umfuli River. Obsessed with horses, pop stars and her pet giraffe, Lauren lived in an African paradise until the brutal murder of a school friend and the coming of independence forced her to confront the past - to realise that almost everything she'd believed about her country and her life had been a lie.

Orion

Evelyn

Evelyn Doyle
Authors:
Evelyn Doyle

Told through the eyes of his daughter Evelyn, this is the true story of a father's fight to reclaim his children from the Irish government in the 1950s, now a major film.Desmond Doyle, 29, a painter and decorator, is married with six children and living in the infamous Fatima Mansions in Dublin in 1953. One day he comes home to find his wife has left him. He decides to go to England to find work and is advised to put his children into the state Industrial Schools system for a short time until he returns. When he returns he is told to his horror that the children have been consigned to the state until they are 16. This is the story of how Desmond Doyle fought the Irish legal system to change the law and win back his family.

W&N

The Last Diaries

Alan Clark
Authors:
Alan Clark
W&N

Gielgud's Letters

John Gielgud
Authors:
John Gielgud
W&N

Belle's Best Bits

Belle de Jour
Authors:
Belle de Jour
Orion

Early Days

Miss Read
Authors:
Miss Read
W&N

Diaries

Alan Clark
Authors:
Alan Clark

The first volume of the 20th century's most phenomenally successful diaries, published alongside first paperback of THE LAST DIARIES.INTO POLITICS begins in 1973 with Clark's selection as Tory candidate for Nancy Astor's old seat in Plymouth (rival candidates included future Conservative luminaries Michael Howard and Norman Fowler). Alan Clark describes his election to the Commons in the 1974 general election; his years as a backbencher coincide with Edward Heath as PM, his downfall and the arrival of Margaret Thatcher. This volume ends with the inside story of the Falklands War.In his private life Alan and his wife Jane and their two young sons take over Saltwood Castle, previously the home of his father Kenneth (Civilisation) Clark. His enthusiasms for the estate, skiing, fast cars and girls are never far away.