Colorful ... The interactions among these writers, artists, scholars and sensual adventurers made for a cauldron of contradictions — loving and heartbreaking, productive and chaotic, gossipy and protective, open-minded and cliquish. The group was astonishingly inventive and fiercely devoted to intellect, beauty and fun ... Nino Strachey puts Bloomsbury’s orgiastic side in useful context ... It is in such concisely explained, well-researched details that Young Bloomsbury flourishes. Its cinematic specifics and pace make the reader feel the bravery and solidarity among these nonconformists ... Young Bloomsbury wears its political and personal intentions proudly ... [A] lively account.
Ms. Strachey underpins her narrative with concerns from her own time, writing in her introduction that, 'as the mother of a child who identifies as gender-fluid and queer,' she feels especially attuned to the discrimination and suppression endured by those members of Young Bloomsbury whose sexuality was nontraditional, and commends them for their courage ... These sections are the most affecting parts of the book ... While useful as a catalog of satellite figures for Bloomsbury completists, Young Bloomsbury does not make its case that any of these personalities 'redefined' self-expression in the 1920s, as the book’s subtitle claims. Their charisma died when they did, as is charisma’s way.
Brisk, light ... Strachey provides frothy accounts of their gatherings at the Gargoyle ... Perhaps Strachey overstates how separate the generations were: the original Bloomsburies seem to have gone to the same parties as the new set, and the book is less convincing as an account of its characters as creators of lasting work ... Lisa Cohen’s fine triple biography All We Know...offers more substantial insight into this world.
Colourful ... She is well placed to offer a new angle on the oft-told story of the Bloomsbury Group and their circle ... Strachey’s account has a theatrical feel to it, helped by the list of 'Dramatis Personae' included at the beginning. Given its lively descriptions of outrageous parties and the inclusion of Cecil Beaton’s photographs of the Bright Young Things, reading this book feels a little like having an enjoyable rummage through a dressing-up box. But the pale powdered faces, haughty expressions and white-stockinged poses of the men and women captured in Beaton’s photos take on a new poignancy when viewed alongside the serious message that lurks at the heart of Strachey’s book ... If there is a weakness in the book, it is that with such a sizeable cast of characters, the action tends to jump back and forth from one to another; the chapters gallop at considerable pace through a dizzying wealth of information. But overall the book is enjoyably intimate and assured in tone, and Young Bloomsbury packs far more of an emotional punch than its title might suggest.
A superb, sparky and reflective book ... The book comes across as a generous love letter to Bloomsbury; and the author allows that she has skin in this game ‘as the mother of a teenager who identifies as gender-fluid and queer’. So far, so commendable.
Strachey’s book details the first side of this standoff in compelling depth, but how much more complete it would have been if she had looked more closely at Establishment figures like Joynson-Hicks and what drove their animus. The Bloomsbury set is also given a very easy ride ... it is preternaturally difficult to make a wholly convincing case for their creative work when it was busy being overshadowed by the Zeitgeist-changing contributions of their elders, such as Woolf, Forster, and Lytton Strachey ... It is no small achievement in itself, and Strachey’s book, written through a 21st-century prism, makes Tennant and his acolytes appear more marvelously modern than they ever were.
The author insightfully analyzes the substance of Bloomsbury’s social network, how their lives intertwined as a kind of queer chosen family, and how they adapted to heteronormative expectations while remaining true to their desires and identities. With short chapters written in lucid prose, this is a dream to read for those interested in queer history, and Strachey treats the colorful drama of her subject’s lives with tact ... This compact history proves that the lived experiences of our elders are essential resource for succeeding generations.