Extraordinary Women

Compton Mackenzie
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ISBN 9780571251582 Format Paperback
Published 21/05/2009 Length 240 pages

About Book

'Everybody's immoral in Sirene. It's the air. Can't help it, poor dears.'

In 1914, bored of wartime Lucerne, the beautiful, cross-dressing Rosalba Donsante escapes to the island of Sirene to seek out new conquests, followed by her long-suffering English lover, Aurora. But even Aurora's patience is tested to the limit when Rosalba sets her sights upon a new target, leaving a trail of broken hearts in her wake.

Extraordinary Women (first published in 1928) is the second of Compton Mackenzie's satirical novels set on the island of Capri (fictionalised as Sirene), a tolerant island that was a haven for impoverished retirees, hedonistic exiles and gossips alike.

  • About Compton Mackenzie

    Compton Mackenzie (1883-1972) was a writer with a huge output, over ninety books. He wrote too much, but novels like Sinister Street, satires like Vestal Fire and Extraordinary Women and entertainments like Whisky Galore deserve to survive.

    He was born in West Hartlepool, educated at St Paul's School and Magdalen College, Oxford (his upbringing is vividly described in Sinister Street). During the First World War he became Director of the Aegean Intelligence Service.

    He had wide interests: he co-founded The Gramophone magazine in 1923: he was President of the Siamese Cat Club: he was a Scottish nationalist. He also like islands, living on Capri and Barra, and was lampooned for this by D. H. Lawrence, appearing as Mr Cathcart in the short story 'The Man Who Loved Islands'. He thought of suing but, in the end, ticked D. H. Lawrence off for suggesting cowslips could grow in a granite landscape; they prefer lime.

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