CHARLES DUFF ON HIS NEW BOOK: CHARLEY’S WOODS: SEX, SORROW AND A SPIRITUAL QUEST IN SNOWDONIA

A Spectator book of the year, which received rave reviews in hardback: recounts the disturbed upbringing of the adopted son of an aristocratic male crossdresser and a bohemian lesbian.

‘…a life-enhancing memoir.’

The Spectator 

Charles Duff was born in 1949. His first book, The Lost Summer, was a history of the West End in the 1940s and 1950s. He is an actor, a lecturer in Shakespeare and theatre history, and a contributor to the national press on arts-related subjects. He has lived between Los Angeles, London, Paris and Tangier and he is now a Brother of the London Charterhouse. He grew up in many worlds at once. Like an enfilade, one led into another, but each was distinct and self-contained.At his family’s country house, Vaynol, Royalty mingled with eccentric relations and glamorous socialites, supported by a colourful ensemble cast of cooks, nannies and butlers. In London, Charley met his father’s boyfriends and his mother’s lesbian lovers, as well as leading artists, musicians and directors. Through the theatre, he discovered his vocation in academia and teaching. But these worlds did not co-exist in harmony. As the estate faced ruin and his parents’ marriage fell apart, Charley’s relationship with his family festered. He was known to be adopted, and speculation about his identity fanned rumours that many still believe today.

PRAISE FOR Charley’s Woods IN HARDCOVER

‘There is an intelligence and nobility in the clipped, unselfish attitude on show in this book that reveals something of a way of being that is fast fading from the collective memory. It is, in many ways, a gift of a book.’

The Oldie 

‘Charley’s Woods is tart, arch and crisp. It recalls a strange, lonely childhood with brisk frivolity and a ruthless perception of other people’s oddities, vices and humours… Charley’s Woods is rueful rather than boastful. It abounds in lordly and theatrical anecdotes, waspishness and mordant intelligence. … a tender-hearted, prickly, resilient and life-enhancing memoir.’

The Spectator

Chairman – Savilian David Oldroyd-Bolt