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Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter by…

Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter

by Antonia Fraser

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Thought I'd love it, but I got bored with it all. ( )
  ReneeGKC | Jan 30, 2014 |
Memoir of a marriage between two people at the top of the literary game who had spouses, six children between them when they met, but cared more for each other than them. After their first meeting Pinter said to the author, "Must you go?" and the lust became an affair became marriage. 33 years of being in love, not just loving.

True love sometimes involves hurting others, when should we do our duty and when should we be true to ourselves? Antonia Fraser never addresses this or any other question that requires any depth to an answer. She writes only of their lives mixing with the glitterati of the literary, film and theatre world and of their love, always of their love for each other.

It is a lovely book, a deeply romantic read but in a real sense, not romance-novel at all, but it has to be said, it is shallow. I would have expected more of an author known for her deeply-penetrating and well-researched historical biographies. Perhaps love that deep needs no reflection, it just is two people as one and no questions, it's all an answer to the heart's quest in itself? I've never experienced that kind of love, but *I'd like to.

*Want my phone number? Send me your life cv first ;-)
( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
Seldom have I read a book so filled with literary references. They are on every page and, while Antonia Fraser's memoir of her life with Harold Pinter is lightweight, it is intellectually charged with interesting bits of flotsam and jetsam from the literary world of a couple who were immersed in literary lives and lights.
It was while at a social gathering in 1975 that Ms. Fraser walked up to Pinter, before leaving, to say that she liked his play, “The Birthday Party.” The two barely knew each other. He looked back at her with what she calls “amazing, extremely bright black eyes” and said, “Must you go?” He called her his destiny and wrote her love poems, some of them later collected in a volume called “Six Poems for A” (2007). She loved his bristling mind, his “awesome baritone” and the way his “black curly hair and pointed ears” made him look “like a satyr.” They remained happily together (marrying in 1980) for 33 years, through his Nobel Prize in 2005 and until his death from cancer, at 78, in December 2008.
There are many anecdotes that intrigue the reader in this delightful memoir. One of my favorite moments follows:
"Dinner with tom and Miriam Stoppard. The latter tackles Harold about the swearing in No Man's Land: 'This must be something in you, Harold, waiting to get out.' Harold: 'But I don't plan my characters' lives.' Then to Tom: 'Don't you find they take over sometimes?' Tom: 'No.'"
It seems that their life is filled with such moments and, when the literary references wane, there are the political highlights that bring alive the times (a span of three decades) with intrusions of bits about the IRA or left and right-wing political goings-on.
Pinter’s life force — he was mostly anything, it seems, but Pinteresque — comes through clearly here. Ms. Fraser details his love for cricket, tennis and bridge. He threw himself around recklessly on dance floors and swam “with a great splashing like a dog retrieving a ball.” The result is a wonderful read for anyone interested in the life of the epitome of a literary couple. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jan 7, 2012 |
This is a very good way to get an insight into somebody´s life without the guilt of reading somebody else´s diary. Well written, an easy, illuminating and for me also inspiring read. Must you go is a moving story of two people who obviously were deeply in love with each other, and managed to have a beautiful friendship and relationship for thirty years. That these two people were among the best known authors in modern Brittain certainly adds another dimension to the book, and of course, that they, especially HP, also were taking very active stand for their political beliefs made me to reflect on the world events as well, and this was a good exercise for me. Also, I love the theatre, so for me, the insights into some of the most talked about plays, playwrites and performances was a bonus.

Some of the things I found inspiring: Antonia´s father telling her on her 63rd birthday, that at this age Winston Churchill had yet to become the Prime Minister. In our age, that is so focused on youth and young looking people, this is something we should remind ourselves of often. Harold´s committment to the plays and also to his convictions, even when very ill, was extremely touching and inspiring. And how Harold and Antonia, together with their friends and family, took pleasure of literature together- performing plays, reading poems etc.

I wish I had AF´s confidence when she described how somebody met her and HP and continued, "naturally, they were delighed to meet us" - that sentence made me laugh out loud. And a catty comment, there is a small mistake in the book -Nobel day is NOT on the 7th of December:), but on the 10th. But, this aside, this book made me think, laugh, and cry -and plan to read more poetry, as well as biographies. For light reading, I am very happy with this book. ( )
  Bookoholic73 | Dec 13, 2011 |
I love biographies. I love Antonia Fraser's history studies. So why, then, did I not love this book? It's a "love story for the ages", the story of Antonia Fraser's chance meeting with - then romance and marriage with - playwright and actor Harold Pinter. I suppose I struggled with the selfishness of it all - yes, they were in love. But they each left families, and spouses, to chase that love, and this is the sticking point for me. For all the genius of these two, and for all that they were a loving and committed couple once they got together, the fact remains that their selfishness destroyed two families, and that bothers me. Taken from Fraser's diaries, the book is just as well written and fascinating as you could wish, which just makes me grind my teeth all the more. ( )
1 vote Meggo | Oct 23, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Fraser describes this account, based on her diaries, as “in essence…a love story”, and Must You Go? ­certainly has at times a bosom-heaving, lace-handkerchief-fluttering quality.
"No flowers on my grave," he hissed after seeing dead cornflowers on ­Larkin's. His wishes have been honoured in this book, which is less flowery than most elegies have a right to be, one year on. He had already approved the diary entries he'd read as "a great record of – us". Still, he couldn't have known that Fraser would include his poems to her, including the last one, written 18 months before he died, which begins: "I shall miss you so much when I'm dead".
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A moving testament to one of the literary world's most celebrated marriages: that of the greatest playwright of our age, Harold Pinter, and the beautiful prize-winning biographer Antonia Fraser.

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