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About the book
  • Published: 6 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448192571
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

My Life in Houses




What does home mean to you?

‘I was born on 25th May, 1938, in the front bedroom of a house in Orton Road, a house on the outer edges of Raffles, a council estate. I was a lucky girl.’

So begins Margaret Forster’s journey through the houses she’s lived in, from that sparkling new council house, to her beloved London home of today. This is not a book about bricks and mortar though. This is a book about what houses are to us, the effect they have on the way we live our lives and the changing nature of our homes: from blacking grates and outside privies; to cities dominated by bedsits and lodgings; to the houses of today converted back into single dwellings. Finally, it is a gently insistent, personal inquiry into the meaning of home.

  • Pub date: 6 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448192571
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

About the Author

Margaret Forster

Born in Carlisle, Margaret Forster was the author of many successful and acclaimed novels, including Have the Men Had Enough?, Lady's Maid, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, Is There Anything You Want? , Keeping the World Away, Over and The Unknown Bridesmaid. She also wrote bestselling memoirs – Hidden Lives, Precious Lives and, most recently, My Life in Houses – and biographies. She was married to writer and journalist Hunter Davies and lived in London and the Lake District. She died in February 2016, just before her last novel, How to Measure a Cow, was published.

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Praise for My Life in Houses

“I was truly moved by Margaret Forster's ingeniously structured and beautifully written memoir... A really wonderful book”

Juliet Nicolson, Evening Standard BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“A beautiful exploration of her life in relation to the homes she has made'”

Rachel Joyce, Observer BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“Such a clever idea. It's a memoir sited in bricks and mortar... social and personal history spliced together”

Penelope Lively, Guardian BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“Until its shocking, throat-catching end, this latest book is a deceptively simple trek evoking everywhere [Margaret Forster] has lived”

Melanie Reid, The Times

“Reads like one of Forster's well-loved novels: full of sharp observation and gentle wit”

Bel Mooney, Daily Mail

“In both books and homes, we find wry humour and a great deal of poignancy”

Sarah Franklin, Sunday Express

“Like sitting down for tea with a highly intelligent woman and chatting, not so much about "a room of one's own" as "a home of one's own"... fascinating and touching”

Spectator

“This is a lovely and touching evocation of what home means to one woman, and within this is a universality that many will connect with”

Shirley Whiteside, Herald

“A meditation on our emotional connection with houses, it is also a perceptive portrayal of changing domestic life in 20th and 21st-century Britain”

Juanita Coulson, Lady

“Lovely, insightful memoir”

Simple Things

“A wonderful, and affecting book about what makes a home, and the effect where we live has on how we live our lives”

Bookseller, Editor's Pick

“An enthralling account of her relationship with the houses she has loved... I think many people reading it will respond -- as I did -- to her very personal bond with the houses she has occupied, changed and drawn comfort from... and it is so movingly honest”

Virginia Nicholson, author of SINGLED OUT

“Even if you’re not familiar with Forster’s novels, you’ll love the nostalgic trawl through seven houses over 70-odd years”

Sophie King, Sidmouth Herald

“A really wonderful book”

Juliet Nicolson, Evening Standard

“This is the quietest and gentlest of autobiographies”

Steve Matthews, Cumberland News

“A clever little tome”

Emma Herdman, UK Press Syndication

“Such a clever idea”

Penelope Lively, Guardian Weekly

“[Forster] is a compassionate notice, she doesn’t give in to nostalgia, and she captures beautifully in this wise, observant book a life and a world”

Lucy Lethbridge, Oldie

“A beautiful, moving, reticent book”

Steve Matthews, UK Press Syndication

“This story is told with wit and honesty”

Mary Ingham, Cumbria Life

“Quietly compelling, straightforward but profound, this book is an unsentimental but affecting life story with a difference. Highly recommended”

Good Book Guide

“A powerful memoir… [Forster] evokes the idea of the human body as a home beautifully”

John Hinton, Catholic Herald

“This beautiful and profound book is not so much about a passion for - or indeed the occasional aversion to - a series of places, but an exquisite personification, an exploration of a relationship that alters just as all human relationships do, sometimes intense, sometimes disappointing, often reassuring and above all providing protection, continuity and occasionally a means of survival.”

The Daily Telegraph

“My Life in Houses…is warm, direct, beautifully written and described without self-pity her struggle with the cancer that killed her. She was a writer of rare talent.”

Judy Finnigan, Daily Express

“Lovely, unsentimental memoir… An extraordinarily effective way of conveying just how much stuff, both physical and emotional, a life contains.”

Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday

“Lovely, unsentimental memoir… An extraordinarily effective way of conveying just how much stuff, both physical and emotional, a life contains.”

Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday

“This author has given us many good books in her lifetime. The final chapters of this one are very emotional as she was obviously aware that her illness was getting progressively worse. A gentle, thoughtful and moving book.”

Dorothy Flaxman, Nudge

“A gently insistent, personal inquiry into the meaning of home.”

Western Morning News

“A wonderful backwards glance at the changing nature of our accommodation… A gently insistent, personal inquiry into the meaning of home.”

CGA Magazine


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