Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 25 March 2010.
Antonia Fraser’s memoir of the love story between herself and Harold Pinter, who spent 33 years together, having found each other somewhat later in life. Since 1968 Fraser has kept diaries and uses these to accurately recollect their first meeting and beyond. A moving, fascinating and life affirming memoir.
The subtitle of this wonderful memoir declares its contents: this is 'my life with Harold Pinter', not Lady Antonia Fraser's complete life, and certainly not his. In essence, it is a love story and as with many love stories, the beginning and the end, the first light and the twilight, are dealt with more fully than the high noon in between. The result is a marvellously insightful testimony to modern literature's most celebrated marriage, between the greatest playwright of the age and a beautiful and famous prize-winning biographer. Must You Go? is based partly on Antonia Fraser's own diaries, which she has kept since October 1968 when she suffered from withdrawal symptoms after finishing her first historical biography, Mary Queen of Scots. Antonia Fraser has also used her own recollections, both immediate reactions (she always writes her Diary the next morning, unless otherwise noted) and memories. She has quoted Pinter where he told her things about his past, once again noting the source, and has occasionally quoted his friends talking to her on the same subject. Intriguingly her Diaries always pay special attention to any green shoots where Pinter's writing is concerned, perhaps a consequence of a biographer living with a creative artist and observing the process first hand. Harold Pinter and Antonia Fraser lived together from August 1975 until his death thirty-three years later on Christmas Eve 2008. 'O! call back yesterday, bid time return,' cries one of his courtiers to Richard II. This is Antonia Fraser's uniquely compelling way of doing so.
'Antonia Fraser's poignant memoir Must You Go? begins in 1975 when, aged 42, she meets the playwright with 'bright black eyes' at a dinner party, sparking a 33-year love affair'
HARPER 'S BAZAAR
'Antonia Fraser writes a moving portrait of her relationship with late husband Harold Pinter'
'But the book is in the end not so much a literary memoir as the simplest of love stories. As such, it's captivating'
David Sexton EVENING STANDARD
'It is neither authobiography nor biography but a love story, romantic, poignant and very funny, illuminating her husband's character and creativity'
Valerie Grove THE TIMES
'Antonia Fraser's memoir of her life with Harold Pinter, Must You Go?, is extraordinary by any standards. Based on the diaries she kept during her 33-year relationship with the dramatist, it is simultaneously a love story, an intimate portrait of a great writer and an exercise in self-revelation'
Michael Billington THE GUARDIAN
'This book - full of funny and tender things - satisfies on more than one level. It is an intimate account of the life and habits of a major artist; it is a pencil sketch of British high society in the second half of the 20th century; and it is, more than either of these things, and much more unusually, a wonderfully full description of the deep pleasures and comforts of married love'
Sam Leith SPECTATOR
Publication date: 11/01/2010
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co
|Publication date:||11th January 2010|
|Publisher:||Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography,|
Antonia Fraser is the author of many widely acclaimed historical works including the biographies, CROMWELL: OUR CHIEF OF MEN, KING CHARLES II and THE GUNPOWDER PLOT (CWA Non-Fiction Gold Dagger; St Louis Literary Award). She has written five highly praised books which focus on women in history, THE WEAKER VESSEL: WOMEN'S LOT IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND (Wolfson Award for History, 1984), THE WARRIOR QUEENS: BOADICEA¿S CHARIOT, THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII, MARIE ANTOINETTE: THE JOURNEY (Franco-British Literary Prize 2001), which was made into a film by Sofia Coppola in 2006 and now most recently LOVE AND LOUIS XIV: THE WOMEN IN ...More About Antonia Fraser