In the late 1930s, Virginia and Leonard Woolf owned a pet marmoset named Mitz. This novel is about that marmoset, its involvement in the lives of the Woolfs, and the endlessly fascinating ways that the human and the animal intersect and affect one another. A very deliberate homage to Flush, the novel-cum-biography Virginia Woolf wrote about Elizabeth Barrett Browning's dog in the 1930s while she owned Mitz, Sigrid Nunez has here created a delightful book, completely riveting, and wholly, unsentimentally sad.
This tender biography of a sickly marmoset that was adopted by Leonard Woolf and became a fixture of Bloomsbury society (The New York Times) is an intimate portrait of the life and marriage of Leonard and Virginia Woolf from a National Book Award-winning author. In 1934, a sickly pathetic marmoset" named Mitz came into the care of Leonard Woolf. After he nursed her back to health, she became a ubiquitous presence in Bloomsbury society. Moving with Leonard and Virginia Woolf between their homes in London and Sussex, she developed her own special relationship with each of them, as well as with their pet cocker spaniels and with various members of the Woolfs' circle, among them T. S. Eliot and Vita Sackville-West. Mitz also helped the Woolfs escape a close call with Nazis during a trip through Germany just before the outbreak of World War II. Using letters, diaries, memoirs, and other archival documents, Nunez reconstructs Mitz's life against the background of Bloomsbury's twilight years. This tender and imaginative mock biography offers a striking look at the lives of writers and artists shadowed by war, death, and mental breakdown, and at the solace and amusement inspired by its tiny subject--and this new edition includes an afterword by Peter Cameron and a never-before-published letter about Mitz by Nigel Nicolson. "In short, glistening sentences that refract the larger world, Ms. Nunez describes the appealingly eccentric, fiercely intelligent Woolfs during a darkening time." --The Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Sigrid Nunez has published seven novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, For Rouenna, The Last of Her Kind, and The Friend, which won the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction. Her honors include a Whiting Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, the Rome Prize in Literature, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Family Foundation Award. Nunez is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. Peter Cameron's novels include The Weekend, Andorra, The City of Your Final Destination, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, Coral Glynn, and What Happens at Night.