Hilary and Jackie: The True Story of Two Sisters Who Shared a Passion, a Madness and a Man

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9780345432711: Hilary and Jackie: The True Story of Two Sisters Who Shared a Passion, a Madness and a Man

From the moment Jacqueline du Pré first held a cello at the age of five, it was clear she had an extraordinary gift. At sixteen, when she made her professional debut, she was hailed as one of the world's most talented and exciting musicians. But ten years later, she stopped playing virtually overnight, when multiple sclerosis removed the feeling in her hands just before a concert. It took fourteen more years for the crippling disease to take its final toll.

In this uniquely revealing biography, Hilary and Piers du Pré have re-created the life they shared with their sister in astonishing personal detail, unveiling the private world behind the public face. With warmth and candor they recount Jackie's blissful love of the cello, her marriage to the conductor Daniel Barenboim, her compulsions, her suffering, and, above all, the price exacted by her talent on the whole family. For proud as they were of Jackie's enormous success, none of them was prepared for the profound impact her genius would have on each of their lives. . . .

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Review:

Jacqueline du Pré saw the outlines of her short, brilliant, and tragic life when she was still very young. The first time she heard a cello (she was 4 years old), she said, "Mummy, I want to make that sound." She got a cello for her 5th birthday and made her professional debut at age 16. She went on to become one of the century's most amazing musicians for 10 years. Then her career was ended by multiple sclerosis. She seems to have foreseen that crippling illness, which killed her at age 42 after years of slow deterioration. She was 9 years old when she confided in her sister, Hilary (who coauthored this biography with their brother, Piers), "Don't tell Mum, but... when I grow up, I won't be able to walk or move." Before she was stricken down, Jacqueline du Pré led a life of unusual richness and complexity. Here that life is examined by her siblings in loving but realistic terms, including the flaws and conflicts as well as the achievements.

The biography formed the basis for the 1998 film starring Emily Watson. It is a sad chronicle of the pitiless disease that twisted Jackie's personality and sanity as well as her body, but also a joyful book about music, the tenderness and rivalries of family life, and above all a singular, tormented, but buoyant personality. --Joe McLellan

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

October 1987

Jackie died on a Monday and the funeral was two days later.

My brother Piers, his wife Lin, and I drove to Rock House in Buckinghamshire to collect Dad. He greeted us at the door wearing his bowler, as the Rabbi had requested he should bring a hat. Since none of us had been to a Jewish funeral before, we had no idea what to expect. Squashing into the car, we all set off for Golders Green, allowing plenty of time to find our way through north London.

We arrived far too early and the cemetery seemed deserted. We parked as near as possible, and while Piers lifted Dad from the car and lowered him into his wheelchair, I wandered into the graveyard and found the hollow tomb where Jackie was to go. It was covered but lay waiting, cold and empty.

One after another, bouquets were being delivered and I suddenly realized, with horror, that I had forgotten the flowers I had picked from the garden for Jackie. They were still on the kitchen table at home.

I asked for the nearest florist-and was directed down the road. Leaving Piers and Lin to look after Dad, I ran and ran through the miserable, gray day to the main road, under the railway bridge, and to the right. At last, ahead of me, was the shop, bursting with flowers, glorious bouquets spilling on to the pavement, making a blanket of color.

I picked my way between them. "This is incredible, all these flowers . . ."

"Oh, yes," came the reply. "There's a big funeral today. The great cellist, Jacqueline du Pre, has died, and I just can't keep up with the orders...Can I help you?"

The florist looked aghast as tears streamed down my face.

Through my sobs, I tried to explain that I needed a flower for my sister. I could hardly see but eventually chose one pale, creamy-pink rose with a gorgeous scent that Jackie would have loved. Still in tears, I put my hand in my pocket and found I had left my purse at home, too.

The florist simply gave me the rose. I tried to thank her properly, but could only whisper.

I was desperately anxious to find Jackie, and ran wearily back to the cemetery. The caretaker welcomed me at the gate and promised to put my rose with the family flowers. I asked him where the funeral service would be and he pointed to the little synagogue. I opened the door.

There, on a trolley in the peaceful, wooden room, was Jackie's coffin, covered with a black shroud. I don't know how long I was with her but we were alone again, at last, and I was able to say so much. Silently, I told her I loved her, and said goodbye.

After a while I heard a sound, and turned to find a rabbi waiting quietly at the door. He had one of the kindest faces I have ever seen. He walked over and put his arm round me.

"Many will claim they were her best friend," he said. "Many will claim they alone understood what she needed. But your memories of your sister are unique. They are your own. Let no one interfere or take them from you." He hugged me and whispered, "Never forget that."

I wanted to thank him but, as I tried to speak, the doors opened and in poured the great and illustrious. We were completely surrounded.

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Descrizione libro Random House USA Inc, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Film tie-in edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the moment Jacqueline du Pre first held a cello at the age of five, it was clear she had an extraordinary gift. At sixteen, when she made her professional debut, she was hailed as one of the world s most talented and exciting musicians. But ten years later, she stopped playing virtually overnight, when multiple sclerosis removed the feeling in her hands just before a concert. It took fourteen more years for the crippling disease to take its final toll. In this uniquely revealing biography, Hilary and Piers du Pre have re-created the life they shared with their sister in astonishing personal detail, unveiling the private world behind the public face. With warmth and candor they recount Jackie s blissful love of the cello, her marriage to the conductor Daniel Barenboim, her compulsions, her suffering, and, above all, the price exacted by her talent on the whole family. For proud as they were of Jackie s enormous success, none of them was prepared for the profound impact her genius would have on each of their lives. . . . Codice libro della libreria AAS9780345432711

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Descrizione libro Random House USA Inc, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Film tie-in edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the moment Jacqueline du Pre first held a cello at the age of five, it was clear she had an extraordinary gift. At sixteen, when she made her professional debut, she was hailed as one of the world s most talented and exciting musicians. But ten years later, she stopped playing virtually overnight, when multiple sclerosis removed the feeling in her hands just before a concert. It took fourteen more years for the crippling disease to take its final toll. In this uniquely revealing biography, Hilary and Piers du Pre have re-created the life they shared with their sister in astonishing personal detail, unveiling the private world behind the public face. With warmth and candor they recount Jackie s blissful love of the cello, her marriage to the conductor Daniel Barenboim, her compulsions, her suffering, and, above all, the price exacted by her talent on the whole family. For proud as they were of Jackie s enormous success, none of them was prepared for the profound impact her genius would have on each of their lives. . . . Codice libro della libreria AAS9780345432711

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