Nigel Nicolson grew up in the world of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury's, one of three sons of the uncoventional parents, MP Harold Nicolson and his bisexual wife, the author Vita Sackville-West.
In these memoirs he offers a fresh perspective on their marriage as seen from the viewpoint of one of their children, tells how his twenties were, like others of his generation, subsumed by the second world war (he served in the Grenadier Guards in North Africa) and covers his later life as an MP and full-time writer and publisher with great insight and style.
Vita Sackville-West was a cold mother, reserved and undemonstrative. Harold Nicolson was an assiduous, affectionate father. They were both writers and their complementary natures resulted in an incongruously happy marriage, a famous garden at Sissinghurst in Kent, and two talented sons. The youngest, Nigel, inherited some of his parents' attributes: his father's wit and humour, his mother's need for solitude. His marriage failed mainly because of his dislike of 'the wear and tear of proximity', and 'after a time I saw the advantages of a single state and have never been tempted to marry a second time'. Nicolson served in the Grenadier Guards in Africa and Italy, became a successful publisher, then a Conservative MP. His independent ideals led to many battles: he supported the abolition of capital punishment, protested against Suez, and published Lolita in Great Britain. He has edited Virginia Woolf's letters and his father's diaries, and has now written a modest but enthralling memoir. (Kirkus UK)