Memoir

Finder and keeper: two family memoirs reviewed

4 July 2020 9:00 am

What can we ever know about our family’s past? How do we love those closest to us when doing so…

Keeping poker-faced is no use – it’s the hands that give the game away

27 June 2020 9:00 am

This is not a rip-roaring, gonzo gambling adventure. By page 66 this cautious, thoughtful author has still never played a…

From bashful teenager to supermodel: Susanna Moore’s fairytale memoir

27 June 2020 9:00 am

There’s a kind of writing about LA that I am a sucker for. Gossipy, lyrical, with a surface of affectless…

How I finally came to terms with my sister’s death

6 June 2020 9:00 am

‘Grief is the price we pay for love,’ the Queen once wrote. This memoir is steeped in the pain of…

My mother — as I remember her best

30 May 2020 9:00 am

Nine cups of milky Nescafé Gold Blend a day; a low-tar cigarette smouldering; a hot-water-bottle always on her lap; the…

The best way to cope with rejection is to write about it

23 May 2020 9:00 am

With more than a dozen acclaimed novels to her name, not to mention short stories, poetry, a memoir and a…

How not to get away from it all in the Hebrides

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Some accounts of moving to the countryside are aspirational and inspiring, but this book is more of a ‘how not…

Alexandra Shulman’s unlikely career in fashion journalism should have made a Hollywood movie

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

Alexandra Shulman says that she had ‘no desire to write an autobiography’ — so instead she has written about her…

Consigned to a living tomb: Aziz BineBine endures 18 years in a subterranean prison

11 April 2020 9:00 am

Imagine being on indefinite lockdown, imprisoned in a dark, underground, 6’ x 12’ cell, freezing in winter, boiling in summer…

There’s nothing romantic about Cornish fishermen, whatever tales they may spin

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Lamorna Ash came to the fishing port of Newlyn in south-west Cornwall to write a memoir. This is not unusual.…

Annie Ernaux looks back at her teenage self – and sees a stranger

4 April 2020 9:00 am

How can you recover the teenage girl you were? Not just recall the memories and recount the events — this…

A love letter to San Francisco’s mean streets

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Recollections of My Non-Existence is the Rebecca Solnit book I have been waiting for. I was born four years after…

Until he discovered pop music, life was all Greek to Pete Paphides

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Pop music has always been, to those who love it, to some degree tribal or factional; fans like to carve…

Jan Morris, at 93, meditates on what it means to be old

21 March 2020 9:00 am

‘I’m getting rather tired of me,’ begins Jan Morris in one of the diary entries in Thinking Again, almost certainly…

Rescued by the Goldberg Variations

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Were this a less good book than it is, it would be called How Bach Can Help You Grieve. As…

The inside story of working for Carmen Callil

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Forty-seven years ago, Virago paperbacks, with their stylish green spines and hint-of-the-transgressive colophons of a red apple with a bite…

Carve his name with pride: Andrew Ziminsky rebuilds the West Country

7 March 2020 9:00 am

Andrew Ziminski is the man who rebuilt the West Country. For 30 years, this skilled stonemason has renovated some of…

Having a baby is like joining a cult — full of other, more capable mothers

29 February 2020 9:00 am

When you’re not a mother it’s hard to imagine what motherhood is like. Anyone you know who becomes one assures…

How long is long enough to look at a work of art?

15 February 2020 9:00 am

There is a vogue at the moment for books which use art as a vehicle for examining the writer’s wider…

Lake Ohrid: an oasis of peace in the war-torn Balkans

15 February 2020 9:00 am

Kapka Kassabova’s previous travel book, Border, was rightly acclaimed and won several prizes. The author travelled to the edge of…

It’s not the dark hours the insomniac dreads but the clear light of day

15 February 2020 9:00 am

The insomniac may come to dread the night’s solitude, but the next day poses the greater challenge. That’s when you…

Deborah Orr rages against her small-town upbringing

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Unlike a lot of people in the media, I didn’t personally know Deborah Orr, but I know many who did,…

Reasons for remembering things: the refugee’s last resort

11 January 2020 9:00 am

A family memoir is a dangerous thing to write: one has to balance between keeping one’s subjects happy and the…

The other half of Wham!

21 December 2019 9:00 am

Have you heard the story about the time that Andrew Ridgeley, the 1980s heart-throb, refused to answer the door to…

Will Self’s memoir of drug addiction is a masterpiece of black humour

7 December 2019 9:00 am

Well, it was always going to be called Will. More than once in this terrifying, terrific book, Will Self refers…