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A Life of My Own - Claire Tomalin

Paperback Published: 16th July 2018
ISBN: 9780241974834
Number Of Pages: 352

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The top 10 Sunday Times bestselling 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.'

About the Author

Claire Tomalin was born in London in 1933 of a French father and an English mother, and was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. She has worked in publishing and journalism all her life, becoming literary editor first of the New Statesman and then of the Sunday Times, which she left in 1986.

She is also the author of The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft, which won the Whitbread First Book Prize for 1974; Shelley and His World (reissued by Penguin in 1992); Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life (Penguin 1988), a biography of the modernist writer on whom she also based her 1991 play The Winter Wife; the highly-acclaimed The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens (Penguin 1991), which won the NCR Book Award for 1991, as well as the Hawthornden Prize and the 1990 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography; and Mrs Jordan's Profession (Penguin 1995), a study of the Regency actress. Other books written for Penguin are: Jane Austen: A Life and a collection of memoirs entitled Several Strangers.

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 *
Absorbing, moving and marvellously written -- Kate Kellaway * Observer *
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 *
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 *
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
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 *
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 *
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 *
Ambushingly poignant * Observer Books of the Year *
There is a truth to every chapter of her recollection -- Tim Adams * Observer New Review, 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 *
In this triumph of clear sightedness, Tomalin turns her biographers searchlight on herself * Sunday Times Culture Books of the Year *

ISBN: 9780241974834
ISBN-10: 0241974836
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 16th July 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.5 x 12.8  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.25
Edition Number: 1