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  • Published: 7 September 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241974827
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

A Life of My Own




An extraordinary memoir of love, loss and literature from one of Britain's best biographers

As one of the best biographers of her generation, Claire Tomalin has written about great novelists and poets to huge success: now, she turns to look at her own life.

This enthralling memoir follows her through triumph and tragedy in about equal measure, from the disastrous marriage of her parents and the often difficult wartime childhood that followed, to her own marriage to the brilliant young journalist Nicholas Tomalin. When he was killed on assignment as a war correspondent she was left to bring up their four children - and at the same time make her own career.

She writes of the intense joys of a fascinating progression as she became one of the most successful literary editors in London before discovering her true vocation as a biographer, alongside overwhelming grief at the loss of a child.

Writing with the élan and insight which characterize her biographies, Claire Tomalin sets her own life in a wider cultural and political context, vividly and frankly portraying the social pressures on a woman in the Fifties and Sixties, and showing 'how it was for a European girl growing up in mid-twentieth-century England ... carried along by conflicting desires to have children and a worthwhile working life.'

  • Published: 7 September 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241974827
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

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Praise for A Life of My Own

Absorbing, moving and marvellously written

Kate Kellaway, Observer

Ambushingly poignant

Observer Books of the Year

As one of the best biographers of her generation, Claire Tomalin had written about great novelists and poets to huge success: now, she turns to look at her own life

Guardian Books of the Year

As well as her adventures in literary London as a hack, we also see a private life of contentment and heartbreak

Robbie Millen, The Times Books of the Year

Her memoir is peppered with fascinating pen portraits and anecdotes... she has tried, as Pepys did in his life, to give the 'texture' of a life. This she has achieved quite brilliantly

Sunday Times

I loved Claire Tomalin's memoir and ate through it in a day when I was supposed to be doing other things. So interesting and delightful and charming. I loved how she weaves the big dramatic events with the everyday - which is so much of what life is.

Cathy Rentzenbrink, bestselling author of The Last Act of Love

In this triumph of clear sightedness, Tomalin turns her biographers searchlight on herself

Sunday Times Culture Books of the Year

It is not Tomalin's professional life that impresses most in this memoir but her survival through personal tragedy, or rather , her remarkable ability to articulate its bleakness... She speaks from the heart but retains a sort of privacy, and is all the more powerful for it

Evening Standard

She has been tested in ways few women are. Her ability to overcome adversity may seem discreetly, even austerely handled, but for Claire Tomalin this memoir is another triumph

Literary Review

She should be a heroine to modern snowflakes who melt at the first hurdle. Tomalin is like a glacier: unstoppable, inexorable, gathering resolve as she goes... The book is poised and beautifully paced

Times

There is a truth to every chapter of her recollection

Tim Adams, Observer New Review, Books of the Year

You will find it hard not to be amazed and impossible not to be moved by the indomitable spirit which drives this memoir...She comes across like the heroine of a great novel...a hugely entertaining book

Anthony Quinn, Guardian

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