Set in Provence, London, and New York, this is a daughter’s wonderfully evocative and witty memoir of her mother and stepfather—Dee Wells, the glamorous and rebellious American journalist, and A. J. Ayer, the celebrated and worldly Oxford philosopher—and the life they lived at the center of absolutely everything.
Gully Wells takes us into the heart of London’s liberated intellectual inner circle of the 1960s. Here are Alan Bennett, Isaiah Berlin, Iris Murdoch, Bertrand Russell, Jonathan Miller, Martin Amis, Christopher Hitchens, Robert Kennedy, and later in New York, Mayor Lindsay and Mike Tyson, her mother as a television commentator earning a reputation for her outspoken style and progressive views, her stepfather—an icon in the world of twentieth-century philosophy—proving himself as prodigious a womanizer as he was a thinker. And throughout, there is La Migoua, the house in France, on a hill between Toulon and Marseilles, where her parents and their friends came together and where Gully herself learned some of the long-lasting lessons of a life well lived.
This is a dazzling portrait of a woman who “caught the spirit of the sixties” and one of the most important intellectual figures of the twentieth century, drawn from the vivid memory of the child who adored them both.
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“The stories of Wells’ mother and Ayer are a delight to read and revealing when dealing with the captivating personalities of their generation, which included, among many others, Christopher Hitchens, Alan Bennett, Bertrand Russell, Iris Murdoch, and Martin Amis.”