17 December 2008

The Hustons

47. The Hustons by Lawrence Grobel (3.5/5)

When I pulled this book off my shelf and started reading it, it didn't immediately register that it was nearly 800 pages, but it didn't take long for me to realize I was reading something epic. The author did over 200 interviews and an impressive amount of research to present a Rashomon style look at the Huston family. Everyone ever involved with John Huston who was still alive when the book was being written (or left diaries or letters) had their chance to speak in their own words. I usually prefer autobiographies, but this book appealed to me since it felt true to all of these myriad people's takes on various events.

Though the book focuses on film director John Huston, it also covers much in the lives of his grandparents, parents, and children (yup, that includes Anjelica) as well as his wives, lovers, friends, and business associates. A crazy but fascinating life: multiple wives and affairs, an estate in Ireland, a house in Mexico, making war documentaries during WW2, collecting art, and movies made all over. The broader scope of the book lets one discern repeating patterns of behavior.

If you're not going to read it over a fairly continuous stretch, I recommend drawing a family/relationship tree for yourself to help you keep track of all the names. You're going to need a big piece of paper though.

2 years ago on TTaT: Level-headed and responsible


  1. It sounds like something I would probably like. I need to look it up. Thanks for having mentioned it here!

  2. You're welcome. It covers quite a span of history in a personal way.