Phoenix, £8.99, 392pp from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Must You Go?, By Antonia Fraser
Friday 11 March 2011
Some of Antonia Fraser's memoir of her decades with Harold Pinter does consist of lustrous names dropping in an avalanche of well-connected badinage onto Notting Hill lawns and Caribbean terraces. But not much.
Above all, this is a love story - still unusual in its form and its focus. With diary entries and later commentary, it moves from a dinner party in Holland Park in January 1975 at which the married historian met the "satyr"-like playwright to a room in Hammersmith Hospital on Christmas Eve 2008. The dying man's black eyes open "very wide" and his wife says: "It's me, Antonia, who loves you".
Brave but often funny in its account of a scandal that became a destiny, it teaches modern lovers a lesson that many will need to learn: how to say the long goodbye.
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