Thane Hereafter…

March 26, 2009 | No Comments

I’m a fickle memoir-reader; I pick them up rarely, and put them down often. Liza Campbell’s reflections on her childhood as a daughter of the 25th Thane of Cawdor, however, is a noteworthy exception. In A Charmed Life: Growing Up in Macbeth’s Castle, Hugh, Campbell’s father, inherits the Cawder estates in his early thirties and seems neither ready nor willing for its responsibilities. Campbell and her siblings grow up in surroundings infused with mystical and historical symbolism, but with a father whose behavior became ever more erratic and violent. Alcoholic and irresponsible, Hugh wipes out Italian sports cars on highland roads, wipes out his marriage through philandering and abuse, then alienates his children before committing his final, devastating betrayal. His charisma remains intact if irreparably tarnished, because Campbell tells her story of toil and trouble devoid of any recriminations or judgements. She represents, through her bewitching prose, articulate proof that having a difficult childhood need not result in a thwarted bitter maturity. 

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