Ever since reading the marvellous Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight, we’ve pounced on any new Alexandra Fuller with delight (unlike her mother, who thinks they’re ‘dreadful’). Just released is Travel Light, Move Fast, a tribute to Alexandra’s father, who died unexpectedly – and not with the drama the family expected – in Budapest, ‘the poor man’s Paris’. Read in equal parts of envy and horror – her parents launched from one calamity to the next, fuelled with gin and in a haze of cigarette smoke, along with the children, a handful of dogs and a collection of orange Le Creuset pots – the memoir jumps from present to past. Alexandra tells of the lessons her father taught her. Lessons about life, love, loss and tragedy. Lessons that led her to cope with the loss of her father, of the fallout with her sister, and of the unbearable final bereavement she reveals in the final chapter, when you may find yourself, as we did, holding the book further away than normal, so as to distance yourself from the grief she pours into the pages. Brilliantly written, heartbreaking, and often laugh-out-loud funny. Not much more you need from a great read, really. Profile Books, R300
If there was ever anyone as glam as the marvellous Jackie Kennedy Onassis, it was her sister, Lee. One of the most iconic women of her time – and the favourite of their rakish father, John ‘Black Jack’ Vernou Bouvier – she lived in the shadow of her older sister, their mother’s favourite. Both had a keen eye for beauty – in fashion, design, painting, music, dance, sculpture, poetry – and both were talented artists. Both loved prerevolutionary Russian culture. Both adored the blinding sunlight, calm seas and ancient olive groves of Greece. But the two, although extremely close, were hugely competitive and their relationship included much rivalry and jealousy. When Jackie died and her will read, Lee discovered that cash bequests were left to family, friends and staff, but nothing to her. ‘I have made no provision in this my Will for my sister, Lee B. Radziwill, for whom I have great affection, because I have already done so during my lifetime,’ it read. The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, who had many candid interviews with Lee, explores the tragic and glamorous lives of these two fascinating women. HarperCollins, R310.