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The Marmoset of Bloomsbury

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  218 ratings  ·  47 reviews
In the summer of 1934, "a sickly pathetic marmoset" called Mitz came into the care of Leonard Woolf. He nursed her back to health and from then on was rarely seen without her on his shoulder. A "ubiquitous" presence in Bloomsbury society. Mitz moved with the Woolfs between their London flat and their cottage in Sussex. She developed her own special relationships with the W ...more
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Published December 1st 1998 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published April 21st 1998)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  218 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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j e w e l s
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-bejeweled

I doubt I would ever have come across (much less read) this tender little gem of a book. Many, many thanks to Soft Skull Press for sending me a copy to review! I loved Nunez's National Book Award winner The Friend and I love this one even more.

“…Sigrid Nunez still views writing the way Edna O’Brien characterized it, as a lifelong vocation akin to being a nun or a priest.” – NY/>“…
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
I must begin this review by saying how ignorant I feel.....
Although.... I can’t help it wonder if I read this 10 years ago....might it have set my reading off to a different direction.

Here’s what happened for me in this wonderful - 150 pages - thin orange-colored book with a little photo of ‘Mitz’....The Marmoset of Bloomsbury...
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-completed
Update: Today, August 6th 2019 - happy publication day for this novel.

There is so much I loved while reading this novel that it is difficult to know where to begin.

Perhaps I should state that for me, there are very few writers who can tell a story without side agendas getting in the way when it comes to the actual people who helped shape our world. Specifically the people who lived within the last couple of centuries: the scientists, artists, actors, inventors, musicians, sports h
This story centers around Mitz, a pet marmoset, that came to live with Leonard and Virginia Woolf (yes, those Woolfs) as they were pet sitting for friends of their, the Rothschilds. Upon their return, however, it seems it was settled that Mitz would stay on with the Woolfs, as she seemed to have made a permanent home in their hearts.

This is more than just a charming pet memoir of a unique pet – I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve never known anyone, personally, who had a pet marmoset – but serv
Peter Boyle
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short read, but a most refreshing one. It has been re-issued due to the success of Sigrid Nunez's National Book Award winning The Friend. Mitz shares several traits with that wonderful novel - it's another story about a bequeathed pet, and it also gives us an intriguing glimpse into the life of a writer.

The writers in question are Virginia and Leonard Woolf. On a visit to the Rothschilds, they encounter their pet marmoset, recently rescued by Victor from a junk shop. Mitz is is ba
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
When Virginia joked about how much she and Mitz had in common, she was right. Two nervous, delicate, wary females, one as relentlessly curious as the other. Both in love with Leonard – for both, he was their rock, their “inviolable centre”. They both were mischievous. They both had claws.

Mitz is a deceptively sweet and clever biography of the marmoset rescued by Leonard and Virginia Woolf, and by retracing the four and a half years that Mitz lived in their company, author Sigrid Nunez is able to describ
Soft Skull
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fall-2019, 2019
By 2018 National Book Award–winning author Sigrid Nunez, MITZ is an intimate portrait of the life and marriage of Leonard and Virginia Woolf, as refracted through their small, sickly, pampered, affectionate pet marmoset, Mitz.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best word to describe this book is “delightful”. Signed Nunez has captured the love and loyalty between animal and owner beautifully. What makes this book even more enticing is that said animal is a marmoset and said owners are Leonard and Virginia Woolf.
Mitz the Marmoset takes us into the daily lives of the Woolf’s. I don’t tend to idolize movie stars, but I do idolize authors and their talent. To learn more about Virginia and her husband was definitely enlightening, as well as the re
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Nunez's The Friend, I was confident she could write a twee-free, yet still charming book about the Woolfs and their marmoset. She does. Mitz doesn't narrate (thankfully) but it is something of a marmosets-eye view of life with the Woolfs just before the start of WWII.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a charming little curio! The Woolfs and their lives are vividly rendered without actually being deeply wrought, allowing them to live off the page as much if not more than on it; the geopolitical scene of the lead-up to WWII is unexpectedly powerful; and Mitz is charming and delightful and strange.

Nunez is a writer of uncommon power, particularly about animals (he says, having only read her two animal-focused books), and I'm excited to read more more more.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming and very brief book.
It tells the story of a pet monkey owned by Leonard Woolf - Virginia's husband.
I enjoyed because despite it's slight size - it is must have been difficult to research and write. The tone is just right.
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Woolf's quarrels almost all had the same source: Virginia refused to leave a party early or take proper rest or drink her milk or eat."
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5, maybe. A charmer that could proudly sit on the shelf next to Flush.
Charming, interesting and a lovely insight into home life with the Woolfs along with lashings of literary name dropping of the Bloomsbury set. But the tone and writing style seemed a bit uncertain of its audience. At first it felt like a book for children but as it went along the content became too complex and dark for the younger set - perhaps 12 and above is a good target.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, historical
The fictionalized biography of Mitz, a marmoset owned by Leonard Woolf, from about the end of the Bloomsbury era to the outbreak of WWII. Mitz is a mischievous, chattering observer to the Woolfs’ devoted, if a bit Victorian, relationship; their sometimes haughty relationship with their servants and printing press staff; Virginia’s odd adoration of her sister and Vita Sackville-West (who was certainly her literary inferior); their 1935 tour of Europe, including a rather misguided drive through Na ...more
Nov 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
MITZ: THE MARMOSET OF BLOOMSBURY by Sigrid Nunez is one of those rare and special books that light up our imaginations and transport us to another place and time. I'm a fan of the short novel or novella form (less is more), and love most things "Bloomsbury"; I've read THE HOURS, BLOOMSBURY PIE by Regina Marler, THE PORTRAIT OF A MARRIAGE, and numerous books by Virginia Woolf, and seen films of these as well as CARRINGTON. Thus MITZ seems rather like old home week, a reunion of sorts.

In the year
Some writer just “get it”: the human-animal connection. In the last book I read by her, Sigrid Nunez mines her narrator’s growing affection for a giant Great Dane. In Mitz, which was actually written (and now reissued) a few decade earlier, it is a little marmoset who tugs at the heartstrings.

I read this book for three key reasons. The first: the author is Sigrid Nunez who writes with understanding and grace. The second: the aforementioned marmoset happens to belong to Virginia and L
Dylan Cook
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Due to time constraints, I had to read this in three hours. Due to its quality, I only needed two. It's a really short work, but it has monkeys and Virginia Woolf. Can't go wrong.
Kelly Dietz
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charming! I could read Sigrid Nunez's descriptions of human/animal bonds all day long.
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book.
Charlie Miller
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was the perfect little literary snack, and I finished it in one sitting. The novel gives the reader a window into the lives of Virginia and Leonard Woolf as the title character would have experienced them. That is, the scope is thoroughly domestic and doesn't touch on the Woolfs larger influence except as can be gleaned from their circle of friends. When I eventually break down and buy a summer house in an English village, it will be because of books like these.
May 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-horror
First, let me say that I agree with Vita Sackville-West's assessment of Virginia Woolf's Three Guineas as a book filled with "misleading arguments".
Now that I have made that clear, I can add that I enjoyed this delightful short romp through the lives of Virginia and her husband Leonard Woolf and, of course, Mitz, the marmoset that adopted them and became a member of their family for a short while. Sigrid Nunez captures the flavor of Bloomsbury in this novella while providing details about the lives of
In 1934 "A sickly pathetic marmoset" named Mitz came into the care of Leonard Woolf. He nursed her back to health and from then on was rarely seen without the amusing monkey on his shoulder. A ubiquitous presence in Bloomsbury society, Mitz moved with the Woolfs between their homes in London and Sussex. She developed her own special relationships with the family's cocker spaniels and with the various members of the Woolfs' circle, among them T.S. Eliot and Vita Sackville-West. Mitz even played a ...more
This is what seems to me a unique look at the famous couple Leonard and Virginia Woolf. This bio-fictional story centers on their interactions with the marmoset they owned during several years of their marriage. This story allows a look at both the charming and the sad elements of their lives. The Woolfs enjoyed a comfortable life within their home in Bloomsbury and their small country cottage, aided in both places by their long-time servants. They seemed to be often in the company of their many ...more
May 25, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun little romp through Bloomsbury in the body of a marmoset. The book wasn't a show-stopper, but I savored the passages about the Woolfs daily life together because of my obsession with Leonard and Virginia. Also, I'm still blown away by the story (retold in this book) of the Woolfs daring holiday in Germany just before WWII. It seems incredibly foolhardy to me, but V and L (who was very Jewish and socialist) went motoring in the German countryside with their marmoset (!!) when the country was cr ...more
Gary Lee
Feb 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For whatever reason, I don't read too much non-fiction: most of it just isn't of interest. And the term "creative non-fiction" is usually enough for me to pull out the straight razors and run a warm bath...
But given my love of most things Virginia Woolf, I decided to overlook all of that and read this short account of the brief span when the Woolfs (the Woolves?) kept a pet marmoset.

It's entertaining and compulsively readable, even if it does wane a bit, here and there. If you'
Lorri Steinbacher
I enjoy biographical novels and I also enjoy microbiographies. Mitz checked off both of those boxes. You get a glimpse of Virginia and Leonard through their interactions with the marmoset. I feel like even though I've read a lot about VW & LW I got something out of this slim volume.
An odd and occasionally quite moving little book about a monkey briefly owned by Virginia and Leonard Woolf. Not my cup of tea, but worth a read. 2.5/5 stars.
Beth Mohr
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The audiobook is probably better than script.
Jesse Field
Leonard finished Quack, Quack! at the end of February. Virginia was still struggling with Here & Now. Leonard watched this struggle with anxiety. He was alarmed to see Virginia, coming in to lunch after her morning's work, beet red and almost reeling, one hand to her throbbing head and the other to her wildly jigging heart. Some mornings he would not let her work at all; he served her breakfast in bed and insisted that she stay there. No one knew better than he how serious she was about her
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Sigrid Nunez has published seven novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, Salvation City, and, most recently, The Friend. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. Among the journals to which she has contributed are The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, Threepenny Review, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, Tin House, and The Believer. Her work has also appeared in several anthologies, including four Pushcart Priz ...more