An Unsentimental Education
Area of interest: Europe
Date of first publication: 1989
Eland publication date: June 24, 2005
This intensely remembered, partly autobiographical novel, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1989, describes the childhood of Billi, a girl growing up in Europe between the wars. When her father dies, she swaps life in a run-down German château for an exhilarating existence with her beautiful, talented and unreliable mother on the French Riviera.
Sent away to England for schooling, the gypsy-like Billi ricochets between short-lived tutors and a life of
reading, friends and public lectures. Returning to the Mediterranean, her unorthodox education – intellectual, emotional and sexual – continues among the vibrant community of artists, exiles and intellectuals who have colonised the coast, coaxing her towards a life
of literature.biography of Sybille Bedford
extract from Jigsaw
'The recent death of the German writer Sybille Bedford leads us back to her 1989 work Jigsaw: neither a novel nor a memoir, it tells how, before the First World War..'
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'Of all the women writers of this century, Sybille Bedford
is, to my mind, the finest'
Julia Neuberger, Evening
'A deliciously evoked return to worlds, and a Europe, now
almost vanished; it will ravish connoisseurs of the lost.'
'It does what we ask books to do, which is to answer the
fundamental questions: what is life like? what does it mean? and how do people bear it?'