The Shadowy Third:
Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen
‘A marvellous, gently elegiac, beautifully written, and fascinating book.’John Banville, New York Review of Books
A sudden death in the family delivers me a box of love letters. They tell the story of an affair from the 1930s between the brilliant twentieth-century writer Elizabeth Bowen, and a young academic called Humphry House – my grandfather. Using fascinating unpublished correspondence, The Shadowy Third exposes the affair and its impact on not two, but three people. The third person in the love triangle is my grandmother Madeline House, who is both a key player and is central to the broader concerns of the book – about how stories are told in real life, in fiction, and in families.