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Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret
by Craig Brown




Overview -

"Rollicking, irresistible, un-put-downable . . . For anyone . . . who swooned to Netflix's The Crown, this book will be manna from heaven." --Hamish Bowles, Vogue

"Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a brilliant, eccentric treat." --Anna Mundow, The Wall Street Journal

"I ripped through the book with the avidity of Margaret attacking her morning vodka and orange juice . . . The wisdom of the book, and the artistry, is in how Brown subtly expands his lens from Margaret's misbehavior . . . to those who gawked at her, who huddled around her, pens poised over their diaries, hoping for the show she never denied them." --Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

"Brown has done something astonishing: He makes the reader care, even sympathize, with perhaps the last subject worthy of such affection . . . His book is big fun, equal measures insightful and hysterical.
" --Karen Heller, The Washington Post

A witty and profound portrait of the most talked-about English royal

She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando tongue-tied. She iced out Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was madly in love with her. For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy.

Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding. In her 1950s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death in 2002, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman. The tale of Princess Margaret is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled.

Such an enigmatic and divisive figure demands a reckoning that is far from the usual fare. Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues, and essays, Craig Brown's Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.

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More About Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown

 
 
 

Overview

"Rollicking, irresistible, un-put-downable . . . For anyone . . . who swooned to Netflix's The Crown, this book will be manna from heaven." --Hamish Bowles, Vogue

"Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a brilliant, eccentric treat." --Anna Mundow, The Wall Street Journal

"I ripped through the book with the avidity of Margaret attacking her morning vodka and orange juice . . . The wisdom of the book, and the artistry, is in how Brown subtly expands his lens from Margaret's misbehavior . . . to those who gawked at her, who huddled around her, pens poised over their diaries, hoping for the show she never denied them." --Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

"Brown has done something astonishing: He makes the reader care, even sympathize, with perhaps the last subject worthy of such affection . . . His book is big fun, equal measures insightful and hysterical.
" --Karen Heller, The Washington Post

A witty and profound portrait of the most talked-about English royal

She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando tongue-tied. She iced out Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was madly in love with her. For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy.

Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding. In her 1950s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death in 2002, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman. The tale of Princess Margaret is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled.

Such an enigmatic and divisive figure demands a reckoning that is far from the usual fare. Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues, and essays, Craig Brown's Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.


 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374906047
  • ISBN-10: 0374906041
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: August 2018
  • Page Count: 432
  • Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.45 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Stories of an unhappy princess

It’s all in good fun for an American to wake up early for Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding or to binge-watch “The Crown.” But it doesn’t seem like it’s very much fun to be a royal, especially on a hot summer’s day while wearing pantyhose. Before Fergie and Diana, Princess Margaret was the original unhappy princess. Margaret was Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister, the more glamorous and mischievous of the pair, whose love for Group Captain Peter Townsend was so cruelly thwarted.

In Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret, award-winning journalist Craig Brown offers an acerbic biography of the star-crossed princess, one that is hilarious and bittersweet in turns. The chief biographical events of Margaret’s life—her doomed affair with Townsend, her unhappy marriage to Tony Snowden, her taste for bohemia and louche ’70s vacations on the Caribbean island of Mustique—are told with a postmodern flair. All of these stories have been told countless times already, and Brown rather brilliantly parses the different accounts for what they tell us about the teller. Brown considers all the angles of many apocryphal stories, especially the ribald ones.

All of this makes for a surprisingly substantial page-turner. Brown’s gift for satire is tempered with a genuinely humane portrayal of the emptiness of the princess’s life. Yes, she was a ruthless snob and an appalling dinner guest, but what else? If she became a caricature of herself in later life, it was—as Brown suggests—because her act mirrored the ridiculous behavior of her aristocratic groupies. Brown’s book is highly recommended for all American royal-watchers.

 

This article was originally published in the August 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 

BAM Customer Reviews