> Skip to content

This enchanting collection by James Tait Black Award winning biographer Michael Holroyd contains his two volumes of memoir - Basil Street Blues and Mosaic

Michael Holroyd is one of the finest biographers of our time yet he was never interested in exploring his own family's history until the death of his parents in the 1980s. Then, faced with a sudden vacuum, he felt a desire to fill it with the stories of their lives.

Basil Street Blues, the first of his volumes of memoir, is part detective story, part family memoir and part an oblique voyage of self-discovery which is both startlingly comic and profoundly moving. In his follow-up volume, Mosaic, he delves deeper into his family history. Witty, touching and wry, Mosaic shows the strange interconnectedness of our lives, and how other people's stories, however eccentric or extreme, echo our own dreams and experiences.

These two volumes - published together for the first time here - form an extraordinary piece of writing, and an enthralling lesson in identity and perspective for both author and reader.


Basil Street Blues is an extraordinary piece of work...a classic piece of English autobiography

D. J. Taylor, Times Literary Supplement

Fine, funny and touching...[Basil Street Blues is] an original, unforgettable book

Victoria Glendinning, Daily Telegraph

A brilliant writer blessed with prefect pitch...there could be no more sympathetic and funny companion with whom to go into the jungle of genealogy than Holroyd

Mail on Sunday

Michael Holroyd is one of the greatest biographers of our age... [Mosaic] is an absolute tour de force of brilliant writing

Lynn Barber, Daily Telegraph

[Mosaic] is marvellous because the autobiographer is in fact a master-biographer

Diana Athill, Literary Review

Read More

Formats & editions

  • EBook


    January 3, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    576 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Michael Holroyd

On Wheels
A Book of Secrets
A Strange Eventful History
Bernard Shaw
Augustus John
Lytton Strachey


Not Dead Yet: The Autobiography
The Princess Diarist
The Boy Behind the Curtain
The Pigeon Tunnel
Everything to Live For
The Choice
When Breath Becomes Air
Lion: A Long Way Home
In Order To Live
Not Your Average Nurse
The Man Who Climbs Trees
Life Sentence
Not All Black and White
No Place to Lay One's Head
The Fair and the Foul
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
LGB I'm A Ballerina!
You Will Not Have My Hate