Continuing my reading about Vita and Violet, I felt it important to read 'Portrait of a Marriage'.To use the official lingo, is both a primary and a secondary source of sorts. The book is split into roughly for chapters, plus an introduction. Two of the chapters are by Vita, and each is followed by a chapter by Nigel Nicolson, her son and literary executor. After his mothers death n 1962, Nigel found a locked bag among her things. Inside the bag was a notebook of her writing. After a few pages of abortive poems, he found pages and pages of writing. The first page, dated 1920 began 'Of course I have no right whatsoever to write down the truth about my life...but I do so urged by a necessity of truth-telling, because there is no living so who knows the complete truth...' The 80 pages that followed were her attempt to write down her love affair with Violet Trefusis, and, in working her way through everything she'd been through and felt, to come to terms with the fact that it was ending. The rest of the book then, is Nigel's attempt to place that affair in the context of his parent's marriage, to show how they weathered it, to add his own insights and explain Vita and Harold's unconventional and amazing marriage, supplimented with letters and diary entries from Harold, Vita and Violet.The result is so dense that it's almost hard to think of it all at once, except to say that the combined effect of is it all is extraordinary. It's such a feeling book. Everyone feels so much. Violet and Vita's love, Harold and Vita's love, even Nigel's love for his parents not just as parents, but as people. That's really what came through it for me. All the different kinds of love people have for each other, the ways they can make each other miserable and the ways they can comfort each other, the ways they can set each other aflame, and the ways they can be a safe harbor, just how strong, how destructive and how healing love can be. How it can destroy lives or enrich them.Vita knew that one day a love like what she had with Violet, and her own nature which was drawn to 'love' Harold, and be 'in love' with women, would be accepted and seen as normal, and I'm glad she was (for the most part) right. I was also so struck by Vita and Harold's marriage, how they remained each other's anchor, each other's 'true north', as Harold said, regardless of any love affairs Vita had with women or Harold had with men. They loved each other and accepted who each other was, and it's really incredible to me.