Faringdon House in Oxfordshire was the home of Lord Berners, composer, writer, painter, friend of Stravinsky and Gertrude Stein, a man renowned for his eccentricity - masks, practical jokes, a flock of multi-coloured doves - and his homosexuality.
Sofka Zinovieff was born in London in 1961. She studied social anthropology at Cambridge, then lived in Greece and Moscow. She is the author of three previous books, Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens, Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life (both Granta) and The House on Paradise Street. She is married to a Greek and lives in Athens.