The Baroness, By Hannah Rothschild
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Friday 01 March 2013
Almost incredible, yet true at every turn, this biography of the "jazz baroness" Nica Rothschild - Hannah's great-aunt - whirls us into a vortex of clashing, yet interconnected, worlds.
In the 1950s, inspired by the pianistic genius of Thelonious Monk, Nica fled the privilege of her family in Europe.
In bebop-era New York, she became not just the champion and patron of avant-garde jazz virtuosi but - in Monk's case - his devoted partner too.
Beyond the juicy scandal, this tale of a culture in transition rests, at root, on a love-story for the ages.
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