A Life of My Own
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 elan 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.'
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 * Tomalin knows how to tell a cracking story * Daily Mail on 'Charles Dickens' * A book that radiates intelligence, wit and insight * New York Times on 'Jane Austen: A Life' * Tomalin is the nimblest of narrators * Time Out on 'Charles Dickens' * Claire Tomalin is the finest and most disinterested of biographers, because in her pages she has given Jane Austen her liberty -- Hilary Mantel on 'Jane Austen' Superb -- Nick Hornby on 'Charles Dickens' Tomalin is a most intelligent and sympathetic biographer... She writes well and wittily * Daily Telegraph on 'The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft' *
Claire Tomalin is a former Literary Editor at the New Statesman and the Sunday Times. She has written seven highly acclaimed literary biographies, including Samuel Pepys, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, and in 2011 the international bestseller Charles Dickens. She is married to the playwright and novelist Michael Frayn.