THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF WILDE
EMER O’SULLIVAN (ALLEN & UNWIN, $59.99)
We read a lot about Oscar: witty, flamboyant, reckless and doomed. But about his parents, Sir William and Lady Jane Wilde? And brother Willie? Not so much. In The Fall of the House of Wilde, however, Irish-born writer Emer O’sullivan shines a high-beam on surely one of the most fascinating Anglo-irish families of the Victorian era. Think unconventional intellectuals full of wit and flamboyance and you get a picture of how Oscar “happened”. “Creating a sensation” was Lady Wilde’s mantra. So she did. And so did he. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Or does it? Willie, the writer, became a reckless wastrel fond of good tailors and tarts. And Lady Wilde? Destitute! Oscar? Gadding about with Lord Alfred Douglas! What could possibly go right? Nothing! We know the rest. A tragedy brilliantly told.