Kathleen and Frank
The Autobiography of A FamilyBook - 2015
Kathleen and Frank is a love story set in the glory days of the British Empire, the last decades before World War I
It is the story of Christopher Isherwood's parents, the winsome and lively daughter of a successful wine merchant and the reticent, artistically gifted soldier-son of a country squire. They met in 1895 outside a music rehearsal in an army camp and married in 1903 after Christopher's father returned from the Boer War. Frank was killed in an assault near Ypres in 1915; Kathleen remained a widow for the rest of her life.
Their story is told through letters and Kathleen's diary, with connecting commentary by Isherwood. Kathleen and Frank is a family memoir, but it is also a richly detailed social history of a period of striking change-- Queen Victoria's funeral, Bl#65533;riot's flight across the English Channel, Sarah Bernhardt's Hamlet , suffragettes, rising hemlines, the beginning of the Troubles in Ireland--the period that shaped Isherwood himself.
As a young man, Isherwood fled the tragedy that engulfed his parents' lives and threatened his own; in Kathleen and Frank, he reweaves the tapestry of family and heritage and places himself in the pattern.