After writing the definitive biographies of Lytton Strachey and George Bernard Shaw, Michael Holroyd turned his hand to a more personal subject: his own family. The result was Basil Street Blues, published in 1999. But rather than the story being over, it was in fact only beginning. As letters from readers started to pour in, the author discovered extraordinary narratives that his own memoir had only touched on.
Mosaic is Holroyd's piecing together of these remarkable stories: the murder of the fearsome headmaster of his school; the discovery that his Swedish grandmother was the mistress of the French anarchist Jacques Prévert; and a letter about the beauty of his mother that provides a clue to a decade-long affair.
Funny, touching, and wry, Mosaic shows how other people's lives, however eccentric or extreme, echo our own dreams and experiences.