Friday, April 9, 2021

the last book I ever read (Gluck: Her Biography by Diana Souhami, excerpt twelve)

from Gluck: Her Biography by Diana Souhami:

Gluck’s brother, Louis, took over as Steward of The Fund in 1940 – the key job in administering the complex structure of trusts and investments, claims and practical problems of the family dynasty. He lost his seat as Conservative MP for Nottingham East in the Labour landslide of 1945, but despite his parliamentary disappointments he was to hold a plethora of public offices: President of the Albert Hall, President of the Marylebone Conservative Association, President of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, Chairman of the GLC. He was knighted in 1953. As the years passed he got more busy, autocratic, uncompromising and impressive. The jokiness shared by him and Gluck when young evaporated and they continued to try to avoid direct negotiations with each other over her financial affairs. There was a bond of kinship, Gluck stayed with him when in London, but they had lost common ground. She got on his nerves and he would turn the sound up on the television when she came in the room. When for years she ceased to paint, and herself got more autocratic, she no longer in his view justified her eccentricity.

And as if there was not enough to divide them, their mother, after the war, began evincing symptoms of madness. She became even more hyperactive, showed signs of paranoia, her moods changed erratically and she stopped looking after her appearance or eating enough. When she thought no one was looking, she slipped chicken legs or buttered rolls off her plate and into her handbag to avoid eating them, and the room she lived in at the Cumberland became chaotic.

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