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A Life of My Own by Claire Tomalin: a fascinating and startling read

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Money Deals. The Independent Books. Voucher Codes. Minds Articles. Subscription offers. Subscription sign in. Read latest edition. UK Edition. After his sudden death in a war zone, Claire is left to raise their four children alone - all while leading a trail-blazing career in literary London.

A Life of My Own is the tale of a woman overcoming obstacles both rare and routine to live not only a good but also a meaningful life. Tomalin's story filled me with a kind of awe. Every page is valiant, every paragraph full of pluck' Rachel Cooke, New Statesman 'She has been tested in ways few women are. This memoir is a triumph' Valerie Grove, Literary Review. 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 Her memoir is peppered with fascinating pen portraits and anecdotes This she has achieved quite brilliantly.

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. 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. 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. 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.

‘A Life of My Own’ Review: A Woman in a World of Men - WSJ

As well as her adventures in literary London as a hack, we also see a private life of contentment and heartbreak. Claire Tomalin was literary editor of the New Statesman then the Sunday Times before leaving to become a full-time writer. Her first book, The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft, won the Whitbread First Book Award, and she has since written a number of highly acclaimed and bestselling biographies.

In the highly acclaimed Charles Dickens: A Life, she presents a full-scale biography of our greatest novelist.

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