One of NPR’s Best Books of the Year
“The tender biography of a sickly marmoset that was adopted by Leonard Woolf and became a fixture of Bloomsbury society.” –Dwight Garner, The New York Times“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 By the National Book Award-winning author of The Friend 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. A new edition, with an afterword by Peter Cameron and a never-before-published letter about Mitz by Nigel Nicolson.
ugh it’s factually based on diaries, letters, and memoirs, Nunez’s Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury still offers a slice of pure whimsy." --Entertainment Weekly
"Nunez takes great risks with this novel . . . At its very best the book takes on the edginess of Mrs. Dalloway." --Chicago Tribune
"Mitz shimmers with an emotional truth missing from the most rigorous Bloomsbury histories."
m letters and memoirs, the versatile Nunez (Naked Sleeper, 1996, etc.) shapes a small, curious contribution to the greater glory of Bloomsbury, in the form of a story based on Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s pet monkey . . . Domestic vignettes here are nicely turned." --Kirkus Reviews
Mitz succeeds charmingly in portraying the Woolfs’ companionable writerly routine (as well as their darker days), and in being sympathetic (but not sentimental) toward Leonard’s peculiar pet. Among the flurry of Bloomsbury books, Mitz stands out for taking a (Virginia) Woolf-like imaginative leap." --Hartford Courant
Selected Praise for Sigrid Nunez
"A crisply philosophical and undervalued novelist . . . Dry, allusive and charming . . . The snap of her sentences sometimes put me in mind of Rachel Cusk." --Dwight Garner, The New York Times
"Nunez’s prose itself comforts us. Her confident and direct style uplifts--the music in her sentences, her deep and varied intelligence." --The New York Times Book Review
"Nunez has a wry, withering wit." --NPR
"[Nunez] takes us beneath the surface to the essential mysteries of the human heart." --The Wall Street Journal
"A writer of uncommon talent." --The New York Times Book Review
"An uncompromising talent." --Vogue
"Nunez’s voice is unflinching and intimate." --Entertainment Weekly
"When the apocalypse comes, I want Nunez in my life-boat." --Vanity Fair
"Nunez’s writing is haunting and poignant . . . It is, in one word, unforgettable." --Travel + Leisure
"Sigrid Nunez has long been one of my favorite authors because she writes with the deepest intelligence, the truest heart, and the most surprising sense of humor."
arkable . . . We know immediately we are in the hands of a major talent able to open up a complex history for us . . . [Nunez’s] gift is wild and large."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Nunez’s writing is gorgeously spare." --The Boston Globe
"Nunez is adept at capturing subtle frictions in the interactions between class, race and gender . . . [She] writes with sophisticated insight." --The Seattle Times
"[Sigrid Nunez’s] writing is rich and subtly textured." --Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)
"[Sigrid Nunez’s] spare voice . . . gives even the simplest descriptions of place and weather unsettling force and beauty." --The Village Voice
"Nunez’s piercing intelligence and post-feminist consciousness may well feel that writing the Great American novel is no longer a feasible or worthwhile goal--but damned if she hasn’t gone and done it anyway." --Salon
"Graceful, respectful, and achingly honest."