In this intriguing and very personal book, part-diary, part-memoir, P. D. James considers the twelve months of her life between her 77th and 78th birthdays, ‘a time to be in earnest’, as Dr Johnson said at the comparable moment of his very different life two centuries ago. In recording the events, thoughts and reflections of her present, Baroness James has found herself simultaneously remembering the past of her remarkable career. She recalls what it was like to be a schoolgirl in the 1920s and 1930s in Cambridge, then giving birth to her second daughter during the worst of the Doodlebug bombardment in London during the war, working as an administrator in the National Health Service, entering the Home Office in the forensic and criminal justice departments, serving as a Governor of the BBC, an influential member of the British Council, the Arts Council and the Society of Authors, and eventually entering the House of Lords.
Reviewed by Maggie Fergusson in Slightly Foxed Issue 52.
The Threads of Memory
I remember her most vividly gliding down from the first floor of her Holland Park house on a Stannah stairlift. Generally speaking these contraptions suggest dénouement and decline. Not with P. D....Read more
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