Searching for Charmian by Suzanne Chick
The daughter Charmian Clift gave away discovers the mother she never knew.

Only the name, I thought, I need only find out the name and do no more.

In 1991, at the age of forty-eight, Suzanne Chick - artist, teacher, wife and mother - discovers the identity of her birth mother, the woman who gave her up for adoption. That woman was a nineteen-year-old girl named Charmian Clift.

Suddenly, knowing the name is not enough. Now nothing will satisfy her but knowing everything.

Charmian Clift went on to become a novelist and essayist whose name was known to thousands in the 1960s through her weekly newspaper column. Her life with her husband George Johnston (author of My Brother Jack) on the Greek islands of Kalymnos and Hydra in the 1950s and early 1960s captured the public imagination. But for all her talent, intelligence and extraordinary beauty, Charmian’s life was marked by deep unhappiness, and ended in suicide in 1969 at the age of forty-five.

Suzanne Chick takes the reader on her quest to know and understand this complex, apparently contradictory woman who was Charmian Clift. And as she learns about the mother she can never meet, she finds herself re-examining the course her own life has taken (how much was shaped by environment? how much by heredity?), and gaining insight into the life of the woman who brought her up - her adoptive mother, Marjorie Shaw.

More than just a fascinating piece of literary history, this is a moving account of the consequences of adoption and Suzanne’s search for identity.

It also introduces a new and talented writer, who in this respect is certainly her mother’s daughter.

Hardcover with jacket 1994 edition


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Searching for Charmian by Suzanne Chick

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