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The Scent of Dried Roses [Paperback]

Tim Lott
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Sep 1997
Tim Lott had a bad nervous breakdown after his girlfriend left him and he had resigned from his job as editor of City Limits. He returned to his working class roots to be nursed back to health by his mother. Shortly after he began to get better his mother committed suicide...Time Lott uncovers a family history of depression which is also, in a fascinating way, a history of the changing attitudes to depression and mental illness in Britain.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (4 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140250840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140250848
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 453,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'The Scent of Dried Roses touches a nerve no other English memoir has found; it does so in a way that seems not only affecting, but somehow important' - Sebastian Faulks 'This is a moving, insightful, important book. It works as a personal story, as an analysis of the unknowable horrors of suicide and as a history of a changing Britain' - William Hague 'In its slow and careful way, it unfolds a certain topography of melancholia, and the map Lott makes of his troubles mixes the intricate streets he has walked in all his life with some pretty intricate places in his own mind and heart. We are left with a resounding lament for small England ... The book's recreation of a suburban world, its flashing-back and forward in real time, its compilation of whispers and roars and half-remembered truths, its reliance on the intimacies of interior monologue, are bound to make some people think of fiction' - Andrew O'Hagan 'Brilliant. I don't remember reading any text which is so personal, so particular and near the bone and yet which is so utterly without self-regard' - Hilary Mantel 'Outstanding ! tracing his parents' marriage, Lott conveys, with a brilliant, almost Orwellian command of social and historical nuance, what England looked and felt like, decade by decade, from 1930 to 1989 ! it is a story told with courage, candour and astonishing command of detail' Blake Morrison --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Tim Lott has founded several successful businesses and worked as a broadcaster, a magazine editor and television producer. He read Politics and History at the London School of Economics and lives in Notting Hill, London. This is his first book.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The time that I dream of, that I imagine, that I reconstruct more than any other, is a Monday early in March 1988. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, moving book. 14 Dec 2001
By A Customer
I loved this book. Tim Lott has written an overwhelmingly honest and moving book. As a mental health professional, I feel he deserves a lot of credit for this story of himself and those he comes from. I felt as though I knew them all.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Evocative Biographical Account Of Lost London 23 July 2004
I had expected more of a straight autobiography of Tim Lott rather than this account of how he came to deal with his own issues in life by looking at the lives of his parents.
Yet this examination has, perhaps unintentionally, given us a richly detailed and often amusing look at the changing condition of the post-war working class in West London. By telling us the story of his parent's own childhoods, lives, meeting and marriage, Lott has allowed a glimpse in to the collected experience that formed his own childhood and young adulthood within a cultural framework that has now vanished from the English social landscape.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Lott has written in arrestingly descriptive style that maintains a good pace and holds the reader. Although I concluded that his life has not exactly been one of ease, it does appear that some of his 'problems' have been of his own making. Nevertheless, it did not diminish my sympathy for him or those in his life.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An evocative walk around West London 4 Sep 2003
The book is fantastic.
Granted, Tim Lott's life has thrown up a fair amount of material for such a book, but this surpasses itself with the sheer amount of evocative storytelling.
I find memoirs can be a bit too much sometimes. Sometimes I don't feel as though I really care enough to be truly interested. But from the very beginning, Lott draws you in.
It's true that you would have to be very hard hearted not be moved by his mother's suicide note, but the background Lott builds around his family is wonderful.
I would say I'm slightly biased in that I live in the West London area, and know many of the places Lott talks about, but this is also a true London book. I loved the sections covering life as it was for the Lott family earlier in the century, and it's testament to Lott's writing that I even began to care about this distant relatives.
I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, insightful, heartbreaking 1 Jun 1999
By A Customer
The book could be described as a 'Whodunitt'. After the unexpected suicide of his mother, Tim Lott is compelled to discover who or what caused her death. Not only is the book a heart searingly honest account of his familiy history but it also provides a concise insight into the development and mores of the English upper-working class (a class rarely acknowledged let alone written about). The book is well written, unpretentious, facinating and deeply moving - the last chapters made me weep on the No.38 bus home. But I thank Tim Lott for having the courage to write such a moving novel that tackles the (still taboo) subject of mental illness and suicide, and how it may be linked to the monumental social changes that have occured in England over the last 100 years. Elizabeth Wurtzel eat your heart out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 7 Mar 2012
By Jim B
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you haven't read this book - do. If it was possible to award 6 stars I would. It is a beautifully written memoir of a family, a culture and a time. It is not an easy read but it is a gripping page-turner all the same. I did not want the book to end and there is no higher recommendation than that. This is a book I will go back to.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious! 27 Feb 2012
By Steph
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. Beautifully written story of a London family. I just couldn't put it down once I had started, and really cared for Jack and Jean and their family. Very highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the truth, honest and a littery masterpiece 12 April 2000
there are no words to describe how excellent this book is. lott has been open and frank about his condition and his mothers death. he has written about what all surviors think about every day. this book gives me such great hope to know that there are people like him out there. lott has written a masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars scent of dried roses 11 July 2012
By Rog
Just read this book again for the first time since i first read it on its initial release with great sadness and love , as i knew "Aunty " Jean as my friends mum growing up in Southall, we always called her Aunty as you did back then, We left London when i was 7, and also disturbing to me was that i was again living in London in 1988 when Jean passed away, i never did go back to visit Southall much to my regret now. Very funny though for Tim to describe my dad Walter as a big burly builder, hes only 5 foot 5ish!! I remember Tim as Jamies big brother who im sure was fed up of me always in their house playing with Jamie, so much of Tims story about Jean is so sad to me as i remember this wonderful bubbly happy woman, as all my family remember her, alot of the things Tim describes and my memories of Rutland Road are just vague but very happy memories now, still, great to hear that all the Lotts are well and happy, also Jack,

Roger Wall
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Minor English Classic
The Scent Of Dried Roses is ostensibly about the suicide of the author's mother. Scratch away at the surface a little and it's a portrait of an English middle-class, rocked by the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dan Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars I Rather Watch The Grass Grow!
I picked this book feeling it will offer me a touching suicidal story, but it was so slow and missing real objectives of any plot if there was one. Read more
Published on 22 May 2012 by QALAM
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read.
This book fascinated me for several reasons. It was a trip down memory lane, being based in the Southall and Hayes area of Middlesex in the 1950's and 1960's,when and where I... Read more
Published on 18 Dec 2011 by choir girl
5.0 out of 5 stars book
I realy enjoyed reading this book, it is well written, and I could identify with all Tim Lott wrote about as I live in Southall so know it well. M Ford
Published on 13 Aug 2011 by Mrs. M. C. Ford
4.0 out of 5 stars Painfully honest
This was a painfully honest book of a man's life and the suicide of his mother.
It is very well written and gives a wide picture of the history of a typical British family. Read more
Published on 26 Sep 2008 by Tamara
2.0 out of 5 stars Well written but ultimately disappointing
This is an interesting and well written book by a clever writer. There are not, after all, many autobiographies of people who grew up in Southall. Read more
Published on 20 April 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars clarity brought about through connection
Tim Lott's acount of surviving the end of a love affair via obsession, disconnection and finally clarity of thought is searing and complete. Read more
Published on 26 Dec 2000
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