The Fountain Overflows
by Rebecca West, introduction by Andrea Barrett
The lives of the talented Aubrey children have long been clouded by their father’s genius for instability, but his new job in the London suburbs promises, for a time at least, reprieve from scandal and the threat of ruin. Mrs. Aubrey, a former concert pianist, struggles to keep the family afloat, but then she is something of a high-strung eccentric herself, as is all too clear to her daughter Rose, through whose loving but sometimes cruel eyes events are seen. Still, living on the edge holds the promise of the unexpected, and the Aubreys, who encounter furious poltergeists, turn up hidden masterpieces, and come to the aid of a murderess, will find that they have adventure to spare.
In The Fountain Overflows, a 1957 best seller, Rebecca West transmuted her own volatile childhood into enduring art. This is an unvarnished but affectionate picture of an extraordinary family, in which a remarkable stylist and powerful intelligence surveys the elusive boundaries of childhood and adulthood, freedom and dependency, the ordinary and the occult.
Download the Reading Group Guide for The Fountain Overflows. by Rebecca West, introduction by Andrea Barrett
Rebecca West was one of the giants and will have a lasting place in English literature. No one in this century wrote more dazzling prose, or had more wit, or looked at the intricacies of human character and the ways of the world more intelligently.
— William Shawn
A real Dickensian Christmas pudding of a book-full of incident, full of family delights, full of parties and partings, strange bits of London, the lobby of the House of Commons, a classic murder with portraits of the murderer, the murderee and a couple of innocent bystanders, bill collectors, kitchen fires, good food, and a considerable quota of ghosts. West's is a world that is a delight to enter and to live in, warm and vital, and constantly entertaining.
— Elizabeth Janeway, The New York Times Book Review