'It is a real cause for celebration when the best and most subtle literary biography of our time comes back into print, and in a single volume instead of the original two. What Hilary Spurling does, in a beautifully-written book, is to relate the life [of Ivy Compton-Burnett] intimately to the work and show in fascinating details, and with wonderful perception, how her subject's characters mirror aspects of her own nature. The book sends one back to read or re-read the novels - unfashionable, toweringly original tragic-comedies - the most individual novels, it may be, of our time' - "The Good Book Guide". 'A true classic of the genre' - "The Times". 'A biographical triumph ...Hilary Spurling's portrait - elegant, stylist, witty, tender, immensely acute - dazzles and exhilarates' - "Literary Review".