Praise for A Curious Friendship:

'I loved A Curious Friendship. Anna Thomasson in her first book, has brilliantly captured this strange coterie.' Sir Roy Strong

'A Curious Friendship tells the story of Rex Whistler and Edith Olivier with haunting novelistic intensity — a remarkable first book.' Observer Best Books of 2015

'Provides a window on to a fascinating world, and the story is narrated with elegant verve. Part of the interest lies in the enticing cast that quickly gathers in and around Daye House... But most of all, the interest – even the suspense – of Thomasson’s account comes from the central relationship itself. The drama, cleverly marshalled... comes from Olivier’s fear that Whistler will leave her, that mere friendship, however intense, leaves you without claims. The curiousness of the relationship leaves the reader eager to know what will transpire. And Thomasson is an excellent guide, ready to answer the most difficult questions, but reluctant to judge or to simplify. ' Lara Feigel, Guardian. (Read the whole review)

'Anna Thomasson is a wonderful writer, with a pitch-perfect ear and a marvellous sense of style. She knows her characters intimately with the result that one completely trusts her judgment every inch of the way. She has, too, a brilliant visual sense so that one really sees Rex’s paintings and those magnificent houses.' Selina Hastings, author of The Red Earl and The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham

'Moving, thoughtful, entertaining and magnificently researched account of a bohemian art student and a sharp-witted - sometimes comically snobbish - spinster, this is an outstandingly accomplished and original first biography from a writer for whom we can predict a very bright future.' Miranda Seymour, author of In My Father's House and Noble Endeavours

'Rex Whistler — this book’s ‘bright young thing’ — was an artist of the 1920s and 1930s, and Edith Olivier, the ‘bluestocking’, was a novelist. They both deserve to be more famous than they are, and Anna Thomasson’s absorbing joint biography will doubtless make them so... [their] curious friendship, beautifully reconstructed here from their mountains of letters and Edith’s voluminous diaries.' Frances Wilson, Spectator. (Read the whole review)

**** 'Part dual biography, part social history, part study of the circles within which Olivier and Whistler moved, A Curious Friendship charts the ebb and flow of their relationship and their interconnected histories. Thomasson... articulates with great sensitivity the uneasiness triggered in their relationship by the contrast between Edith’s single existence and Rex’s tumultuous romantic preoccupations with both men and women.' Daisy Hay, The Telegraph

'The emotion I felt... is largely due to Thomasson’s skill as a biographer. She doesn’t intrude her personality too much, nor does her writing seem to be affected or stylised; it is that excellent sort of prose that is extremely skilful without showing off. She weaves together diary entries, letters, memoirs, and reviews into a expertly structured pattern, bringing these two people (and the background of those they knew) to life in a way that can’t help but create an emotional attachment for the reader. I get the feeling that Thomasson could write about the dullest person in the world and make it compelling; in Olivier and Whistler she has thankfully found two people who were the opposite of dull, and an unconventional friendship that offers an unusual but entirely fascinating subject for a biography. I can’t wait to see which subject Thomasson chooses next.' Simon Thomas, (read the whole review)

'Thoroughly researched, with elegant prose and a glittering cast of characters, Thomasson's account merges Victorian sensibilities with the raucous Jazz Age, giving the reader the best of both worlds.' Lyndsy Spence, The Lady

'Exhaustively researched and movingly told, A Curious Friendship is a tale of colour and creativity but also of hope and redemption.' Martin Williams, Country Life

'An odd couple bound by celibate chemistry. Thomasson's biography is... sympathetic, and often fascinating in the connections of the people she portrays.' Lesley McDowell, Independent

'Anna Thomasson tells her story well, her suggestions are shrewd, her prose pleasant, both are backed by much research.' Mark Amory, Oldie

'Anna Thomasson has uncovered a remarkable story and brings these two fascinating but forgotten figures and their brilliant world vividly to light. An impressive debut.' Julie Kavanagh, author of Secret Muses: The Life of Frederick Ashton and Nureyev 

'A vibrant, admirably researched debut. A non-fictional Brideshead Revisited, it is piquantly evocative of that lost aesthetic echelon of 1920s and 1930s society which dissolved amid the shadows of war; and the convention-defying friendship threaded through it is enthralling.' Caroline Sanderson, writer, reviewer and Associate Editor of the Bookseller


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