Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury (Paperback)

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Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury Cover Image
By Sigrid Nunez, Peter Cameron (Afterword by)
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Staff Reviews

"In the case of Mitz, I was first intrigued by the tiny monkey peering around the edge of the book, but then I saw the author and was won over one hundred percent. I had read The Friend (2018’s National Book Award winner) and was smitten not only with the dog the book is about, but with Nunez’s voice, and I couldn’t wait to throw myself into another story about an animal that would have that same, almost ethereal, feel.

Mitz was a marmoset, an actual marmoset, cared for by Leonard and Virginia Woolf (mostly Leonard) and this is her absolutely delightful fictionalized biography. Ostensibly, it is a story about Mitz’s life, but it is so much more than just a light, animal-centric tale. It is a story of writer’s block, of passion projects, of desperation, of the trials of being Jewish and watching Hitler’s rise to power in the interwar years. So much happens in this little book, and there is conflict, but there is not a traditional narrative arc. Instead, you, the reader, are presented with a series of events viewed by a creature entirely without the capacity to understand, but deeply affected by what unfolds around it and by the impact of those events on her people.

I loved this book, I have given it as a gift, I have recommended it to numerous people, and I so look forward to revisiting it in the future."

--Lucinda, Longfellow Books

— From Lucinda Recommends!


This "tender biography of a sickly marmoset that was adopted by Leonard Woolf and became a fixture of Bloomsbury society" (The New York Times) is an intimate portrait of the life and marriage of Leonard and Virginia Woolf from a National Book Award-winning author.

In 1934, a "sickly pathetic marmoset” named Mitz came into the care of Leonard Woolf. After he nursed her back to health, she became a ubiquitous presence in Bloomsbury society. Moving with Leonard and Virginia Woolf between their homes in London and Sussex, she developed her own special relationship with each of them, as well as with their pet cocker spaniels and with various members of the Woolfs’ circle, among them T. S. Eliot and Vita Sackville-West. Mitz also helped the Woolfs escape a close call with Nazis during a trip through Germany just before the outbreak of World War II. Using letters, diaries, memoirs, and other archival documents, Nunez reconstructs Mitz’s life against the background of Bloomsbury’s twilight years. This tender and imaginative mock biography offers a striking look at the lives of writers and artists shadowed by war, death, and mental breakdown, and at the solace and amusement inspired by its tiny subject--and this new edition includes an afterword by Peter Cameron and a never-before-published letter about Mitz by Nigel Nicolson.

“In short, glistening sentences that refract the larger world, Ms. Nunez describes the appealingly eccentric, fiercely intelligent Woolfs during a darkening time.” —The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Sigrid Nunez has published seven novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, For Rouenna, The Last of Her Kind, and The Friend, which won the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction. Her honors include a Whiting Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, the Rome Prize in Literature, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Family Foundation Award. Nunez is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag.

Peter Cameron’s novels include The Weekend, Andorra, The City of Your Final Destination, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, Coral Glynn, and What Happens at Night.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781593765828
ISBN-10: 1593765827
Publisher: Soft Skull
Publication Date: August 6th, 2019
Pages: 172
Language: English