Of course, this tickled my sense of real life mystery and I had to look him up on the net. Maybe there was something to read about him, especially since he seemed to me a very illusive character in the book. Marion Mainwaring, has lived in Paris and London for many years and also completed Edith Wharton’s novel The Buccaneers, as well as writing a couple of novels on her own. When she learned that Fullerton was the love of Wharton’s life, she set out on a quest to find out more about him.
It is in many ways a fascinating book. Fullerton seemed illusive in the historical fiction book (which was also well researched) and I am not sure that he becomes less illusive when you have finished this book. A man of many talents, he seemed to go through life without leaving any imprints. This in spite of the fact that he was a journalist and worked for The Times for many years and then for Le Figaro. He had a contact net, very impressive, including royals, presidents, politicians, writers and other famous people at the time, and still…illusive, hiding something?
The book is structured from Marion Mainwaring’s search point of view. It is a very thorough research through archives and interviews with people who had known him or the people he was connected with. He died in 1952, so there are still people around who had met him or are related to the people he used to see. Mainwaring goes from Paris, to London, to Spain, to Portugal and to the United States, into the country sides to find clues of his life. It is real detective work and very impressive.
If I should say something about the structure of the book, it is that it is sometimes a little bit unclear. Mainwaring mix in quotes or sentences or references of her own and it was not always very clear to me who was the source. That on top of the fact that there are so many people involved that it is sometimes difficult to know who is who. Maybe it would have won out to have a separate chapter on her search and detective work and put the story of Fullerton’s life separately. Or maybe not…it is difficult to say. All in all, I loved the book. I am fascinated by people’s life, also not famous people, how they lived and worked. This must be one of the most exciting stories, due to the varied life that Fullerton lead.
|Photos which seems to be 'a pair'.|
The woman is supposedly Edith Wharton.
Picture from The University of Texas at Austin.
I am not sure though, that I can say that Fullerton is less illusive after having read the book. It is something there that he does not want to give away! I think it is best to let him.