Celebrated playwright Harold Pinter and critically acclaimed biographer Antonia Fraser lived together from August 1975 until his death 33 years later, on Christmas Eve 2008.
Must You Go? is an eccentric, hilarious, and often moving testimony of their life together, based partly on Antonia Fraser's own diaries and also her own recollections of their fascinating life together. It is, above all, a compelling love story.
©2010 Antonia Fraser (P)2010 WF Howes Ltd
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"Deeply affectionate portrait of a literary giant"
Moving, engaging, warm-hearted.
Duncan's beautifully modulated narrative voice is well suited to the author's written "voice", while Armstrong's resonant male tones and discerning pace convey the simplicity and depth of Pinter's poetry.
Fraser's description of the couple's early times together, as they endured/negotiated the turbulence and pain of the disintegration of their respective marriages, underpins the rest of her story; but it is in speaking of Pinter's illness, and the dignity, creativity and courage with which he filled his final months, that she is at her most powerful, and especially in her telling of his death, all the more moving for its brevity and simplicity.
Once again, AUDIBLE wrecks its own product by its crass, insensitive, crashingly intrusive end-announcement. Barely TWO SECONDS after the book's final tender and hesitant words of farewell ("Goodnight sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to they rest"), in comes the Audible staffer's voice to tell you the book has ended. It's gross, shocking, unnecessary, and Audible should be ashamed of itself. Does no-one in the company ever actually LISTEN to the final product? Or do they feel every reader is so stupid and unlikely to have been moved by / engaged in the just-finished book that (s)he won't mind being bellowed at in this way?
"Interesting and irritating in equal measure"
Sandra Duncan's narration sounded very much as if Antonia Fraser were reading. Well read and with interesting inflection. Huge insight into a microcosm of the literati over some thirty years. A genuine love story, but despite that, it was occasionally repetitive and tedious. The author came across as condescending more than once. She and Pinter lived in a different world to the rest.
You can't change someone else's life story. It was honest, and with that honesty was the risk of revelation about the real person. It was enjoyable, but annoying at times.
Sandra Duncan reminded me of Antonia Fraser, so it's as if the author is reading. Was less keen on Gareth Armstrong's voice, but it was infrequent, so not a problem.
I'd wait until it was shown free on TV.
Despite their socialist and humanitarian leanings, I was left with a disappointing sense of wealth and privilege. Anguishing about table settings and who should set to left or right dependent upon title and heritage isn't, for me, a benchmark. But it is ultimately revealing.
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