Faithfull: An Autobiography by Marianne Faithfull

By Marianne Faithfull

From pop stardom during the depths of habit to her punk-rock comeback, Marianne Faithfull's existence captures rock 'n' roll at its so much decadent and its so much destructive.

Faithfull's first hit, 1964's “As Tears move By,” opened doorways to the hippest circles in London. There she hung out with the main luminous of the younger, wealthy, and reckless, together with Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.

Her mythical affair with Mick Jagger produced one hit unmarried, "Sister Morphine," and numerous headlines. Faithfull left the connection a strung-out junkie.

Struggling to kick medicinal drugs and revive her musical profession, she recorded Broken English in 1979, an edgy, hard-hitting, severe triumph. As sincere in her autobiography as in her song, Faithfull is a searing, intimate portrait of a lady who examines her adventures and misadventures with no flinching, with no apology.

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I remember the tahona, the enormous mill or wheel to grind coffee, a stone weighing several tons. It must have taken God and his Apostles to climb the hills of Río Negro with the wheel on muleback. The Hacienda was a mythical place for Mother. She had spent long periods of time there as a little girl. But the house lost its charm when don Andrés Grillasca, Ponce’s mayor, bought it. They say that Luis Muñoz Marín joined his drinking buddies there for a good time. Don Ton Ton also owned Hacienda Albina in the valley of Lajas.

They all looked alike. They had the same long neck, Greek nose, and a strange way of walking as if gliding on water. The people of Mayagüez called my grandfather the Zeus of Guanajibo Abajo, father of the eight Ledas from Olympus. But the swans had their grotesque counterparts in the half dozen gaggling geese that grazed around the house. The ferocious geese attacked any unsuspecting stranger that inadvertently entered the garden, running after him, their orange maws wide open. Rosario Ferré 47 A wall more than twelve feet high surrounded the four acres of land and separated the house from the terrible reality of Puerto Rico at the time.

He was 24 years old and a native of Corsica from the rural Sisco peninsula. He married Monserrate Martínez, daughter of a landowner from the town of Peñuelas. I discovered Estéfano’s story after a visit with the architect Enrique Vivoni, who was director of the School of Architecture at UPR. Enrique was in Corsica and did research on the houses of Puerto Rican Corsicans there. During his stay on Corsica he discovered some letters containing Estéfano’s tragic story. I have a copy of those documents as well as his order of imprisonment.

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