When a signed copy of Anjelica Huston’s memoir was delivered to me last week in Melbourne, I intended to savour it for one of those perfect summer afternoons that consist of bodysurfing, working on my tan, and polishing off a new book at the beach. My impatience seemingly got the better of me, however, and within 24 hours my eyes had ingested the final paragraph. As soon as I closed the book I headed directly to my iPhoto archive and searched for the image shown above. I took this shot the first time I met Anjelica at an event in Los Angeles in 2010.
I’ve interviewed her a few times over the past couple of years; once via telephone she spoke with me from her ranch in New Mexico and enquired about my accent. When I told her I was Australian, she reacted as if we were old friends and after reading A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York (Scribner) I can perhaps better understand why.
In essence, this book celebrates the art of storytelling as cherished memories from adventures in different parts of the world are intertwined with eloquent interpretations; like, for example, the way she describes women in London in the 1960s: “The press called them Dolly Birds, but they were predatory–the sirens of modern sin.” Another favorite passage comes early in the book as her mother, Enrica Georgia Soma, shops up a storm at Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, and Dior in Paris, and Huston later writes: “If I don’t turn out to be the cat’s pajamas, it won’t be my fault.”