Book review: The Surreal Life Of Leonora Carrington

BORN 100 years ago, surrealist artist and writer Leonora Carrington only died in 2011, making her a fascinating link to a long-gone world.

Journalist Joanna Moorhead is Carrington’s cousin, and befriended her in her last years, enabling a unique perspective for this biography-cum-memoir.

Where art historians have often presented Carrington’s family as an undifferentiated mass of conventional disapproval, Moorhead’s intimate familiarity with the background enables her to tease out informative specifics, especially as regards the mother-daughter relationship.

Carrington’s amazing life and times are brought to vivid life — this was a woman who knew Picasso, fled the Nazis and was obliged to go on the run once again in her fifties.

 Moorhead is always careful to establish Carrington as not merely interesting by association, but a significant figure in her own right, and one whose work, though rediscovered, has still yet to find quite the audience it deserves.

The Surreal Life Of Leonora Carrington

Joanna Moorhead

Virago, hb, £20;

ebook, £9.99

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