Once in A House on FireBook - 1998
A stirring memoir by a young English woman who finds in literature the inspiration to overcome her tumultuous and abused childhood. Andrea Ashworth, at age twenty-eight one of the youngest fellows at Oxford University, is a young woman of remarkable charm, poise, and intelligence. Her path to her present life, however, has been far from conventional, and in this striking memoir, written with courage and delicacy, she shares a story that makes her achievements all the more astonishing. Although she only vaguely remembers her father, Andrea quickly becomes aware that the dark skin she inherited from him sets her apart from her English mother and the series of stepfathers who soon enter her life. What follows is a vivid and unforgettable portrait of a family terrorized by the explosive rage of one stepfather and then another, and of a sensitive and observant child, caught in a remorseless cycle of poverty and brutality, who refuses to give into despair. For in the midst of her misery, Andrea discovers a haven in the work of writers such as Joyce and Eliot, who allow her to see a world beyond her own and set her on the path toward intellectual and artistic awakening. A portrait of the artist as a young woman, Once in a House on Fire records a life blighted by violence, then redeemed by art.
Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books, 1998.
Edition: 1st American ed. --
Characteristics: 329 p.