Author(s): Gully Wells
In 2009, six years after her mother's death, Gully Wells returns to La Migoua, the house in Provence which belonged to her mother - the glamorous, funny, unpredictable and furiously rude American journalist, Dee Wells. Surrounded by the clutter of decades, Gully is taken back to her childhood, to her mother, her adored stepfather - the celebrated, brilliant, womanising Oxford philosopher, A. J. Ayer - and to the rich, sensual memories that the house evokes. Gully's beautiful, rebellious mother Dee fled Boston when she was seventeen to join the Canadian Army, where she became a Sergeant Major. She married, had Gully, divorced and moved to London where she would meet, and fall madly in love with, the icon of logical positivism, Ayer, who she would later persuade to marry her. There they lived in an extraordinary, liberated and intellectual world, with friends and acquaintances including Bobby Kennedy, Mary Quant, Iris Murdoch, Jonathan Miller, George Melly and Bertrand Russell. In the turbulent and vibrant milieu of sixties London, Gully develops from a cautious only child to a studious teenager. She has a childhood infatuation with the aristocratic homosexual Michael Pitt-Rivers, loses her virginity to a Provencal hairdresser and wins a scholarship to St Hilda's at Oxford, where she blossoms, studies French history under Theodore Zeldin, and falls in love with fellow student, Martin Amis. But as the affair ends, Gully moves on, explores love and travel, eventually settling down in New York. La Migoua, perched on a hill above Bandol, halfway between Toulon and Marseilles, is inextricably woven into Gully's existence. Unsentimental and gloriously witty, The House in France is a vivid and moving love letter to a beloved mother, and a celebration of family, of growing up and of the spirit of a cherished house.
A vivid, funny and moving memoir about growing up in an astonishing family; a love-letter to a mother and to an extraordinary house
'A superbly entertaining memoir full of delicious anecdote, witty portraiture, and unexpected pathos' Zoe Heller 'Travel, celebrity, infidelity - and a generous dose of Provence. Charming and fascinating' Peter Mayle, author of A Year in Provence 'Gully's writing is like her marvellous figure: lean, provocative and built for humour' Rupert Everett The cast of characters in Gully Wells's memoir is certainly entertaining ... exquisitely delivered Sunday Times So extravagantly entertaining are the opening chapters that you feel this might possibly be the most generous book ever written. Wells piles our plates high -- Frances Wilson Times Literary Supplement
Gully Wells was born in Paris, brought up in London, educated at Oxford, and moved to New York in 1979. She is the Features Editor of Conde Nast Traveler magazine and writes for them regularly from all over the world. She is married, has two children, and lives in Brooklyn. This is her first book.