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A Life of My Own


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The top 10 Sunday Times bestselling memoir of love, loss and literature from one of Britain's best biographers.

About the Author

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.


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 *

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