Must You Go?, By Antonia Fraser

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The Independent Culture

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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