Saturday, March 17, 2012

Must You Go? My Life With Harold Pinter (book review)

In 1975, Antonia Fraser, biographer of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry VIII's six wives, and Harold Pinter, renowned playwright, fell madly in love, pretty much at first sight. Over the next decade or so, they disentangled themselves from their respective spouses and eventually married. They remained besotted with each other until the day Pinter died, some 33 years later.

Fraser's memoir of her time with Pinter is based on her diaries, and it includes some surprising glimpses into his complicated psyche, along with some intriguing anecdotes about life in the theatre. However, it is haphazardly put together, with no footnotes, index, bios, or cast of characters. People show up with little intro, and disappear with little notice. The new writing she has added to tie the diary entries together is interesting but insufficient.

I am a major fan of Fraser's. I think her bios are superb. But this collection of memories is the sort of book one should self-publish and share with loved ones. Selling it at $28.95 a pop is ridiculous.

(library book)

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