Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Learn more Shop Men's Shop Women's

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 7 February 2011
This book takes the form of a diary to go over the 33 years of common life of Harold Pinter and Antonia Fraser.

The diary form reduces the book sometimes to an inventory of names (usually famous), places and dates and there are many anecdotal dairy entries.
However, all this is forgotten when the reader finds a gem: a beautiful poem, a poetic paragraph, a witty remarks.
What about: "I always loved Scotland in winter: the bareness of the outline of the country, like a Japanese watercolour, mountains, snow-cap, stark trees, and the beauty of the short-lived light in the middle of the day when it is treasured."
Or one of Harold pinter's poem:
"To my Wife
I was dead and now I live
You took my hand
I blindly died
You took my hand
You watched me die
And found my life
You were my life
When I was dead
You are my life
And so I live"

The best way to enjoy the book is probably to skip quickly over the anecdotal and stop and savor some of the less factual entries.
In any case, the book fulfills our taste for voyeurism allowing us to peer into very glamorous lives. It was very enjoyable to share with Harold and Antonia dinners with Salman Rushdie, Tony Blair, months in a suite at the Claridges in New-York or travel with them in Venice or Paris.

It is also striking to see the importance of words and literature in their life. It seems that their relationship was anchored in words, either conversations on various subjects, poems and love letters or sometimes just a witty remarks. Their hobbies evolved also around literature: a lot of reading, poem recitation, travel to writer's tombs, meetings with other writers, theatre etc...

Love is present all through the book. It is a deep love built on immense admiration. It is always present but also very diffuse and treated with dignity and decency. Check for example this sentence: "To be happily married, no, very happily married to someone who is the center of my life"
Finally, the book gives some hint on the way Harold Pinter worked and therefore providers an illustration of the act of creation:
- He would wrote when he had a sudden inspiration, an image. That could happen at any time and in any circumstances; he would leave everything to write, sometimes frenetically.
- He would make many revisions afterward
- His characters took a life of his own
- He was very focus, serious, diligent and hard working. He would give the same care to a movie script than a speech or a new play. He would not waste his time.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 31 May 2015
The book is in fact, part of Antonia Fraser's diaries during their marriage. It is, of course, about Fraser and Pinter but ir is also a fascinating portrait from time to time of their interesting friends in the theatre, art and writer's world. Last but certainly not least, Fraser and Pinter come through as very special people indeed.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 February 2010
This is a beautiful love story. I had always heard of Harold Pinter but did not know his plays. (The only one I had seen was as a parent at a boys' prep school forty years ago and I didn't "get" it). But the man comes to life wonderfully here and Antonia Fraser's account is so touching that you want to want to know more about both them and their works.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 February 2010
This book could have been just another over detailed and very personal account of the 'grand affair'. However as it has been
written by an established, excellent writer we do learn of the progress of the developing relationship but only in the context
of their interesting and literary life. We meet so many of the authors, writers, actors etc. of their acquaintance so that the story of their long and loving relationship grows slowly in our minds and leaves us feeling that this was certainly a partnership that was meant to be. A memorable read.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 October 2011
I read this in a day and found it a fascinating account of a true and deep love match. The other positive reviews give fair comment on the book's virtues. Some of the negative reviews struck me as absurd. It's true that basing it on her diaries makes occasionally for disjointed reading, but at the same time using her diaries does give her account its immediacy.
I was very moved by her account of his final years -- both parties taking strength from each other. As for the name-dropping and the luvvie talk -- she makes more of her frailty in coping with the setbacks to his health, rather than drawing attention to her evident strength of character. And she is shrewd about people, and self-aware.... I love Pinter's plays -- not so much the poetry -- and the book makes it clear that, despite his success, his creative output was linked to his ongoing dialogue with himself rather than commercial considerations. Highly recommended.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 January 2013
I've always been interested in the plays of Harold Pinter so was hoping to get more insight into his character through
reading this. Very much a 'diary' style of writing but I didn'ty find it very illuminating . Having said that, I hadn't realised
that he had written so much poetry, some of which I found very moving.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 October 2011
Fragments of Antonio Fraser's diary related to her marriage with Harold Pinter. A true testimony of their love with loads of interesting anecdotes about their social life as a couple (friends, acquaintances, events, etc.). Although the book touches on a number of political and religious themes, none of these is further analyzed or developed, which make it a nice 'light' read.
At the same time this is also my only issue with the book, that it remains just that: a collection of anecdotes. Perhaps in retrospect it would have made more sense if Antonia Fraser had taken one or more personal themes (e.g. the fact that both of them left their partners with whom they had children in order to start their relationship) and/or 'professional themes' (such as Harold Pinter's left wing stance on politics or Antonia Fraser's attitude versus the Roman Catholic church) and developed them a bit deeper, say in 2-4 pages. This would be very valuable since the diary fragments refer a number of times to these themes.
Since their work (naturally) plays a central role in this book, I guess the book will be primarily interesting for people who either like the work of Antonia Fraser, the work of Harold Pinter or both.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 March 2010
The best bits of this diary were published in various newspapers: reading the whole thing is fairly uninteresting except in a few entries.There is a lack of dates with regard to years and many of the people refered to would not be known to many readers and there is little explanation as to who they might be. Of little interest to the general public I would guess.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 March 2015
Fraser's self satisfaction was annoying
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 November 2010
The best part of this book about Harold Pinter, sad to say, is the last part which details his illness until his death. That's because it's the only part that has any emotional charge.

Prior to that, as other reviewers have remarked, it is a dull catalogue of dinner parties, lunches at restaurants, parties before or after plays or readings, each with different famous names none of whom are given any life beyond two sentences. Irritating as well is the lack of detail. What did Simon Gray, Pinter's closest friend, die from? And the Pinters must have had help in the house. Like Agatha Christie, staff seem not worthy of mention. Antonia Fraser obviously meant this as a tribute to her husband, but unfortunately I found it galling that most people in the world spend their lives slogging away at unenlightened jobs without any accolades. Pinter seems to have spent his whole life glorying in them. Yet I feel unhappy being so harsh about something that was clearly a work of deep love by Antonia Fraser.
22 comments| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse