Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Must You Go?

Day 267 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and Susan Stamberg is reading Must You Go? by Antonia Fraser.  Yes, yes, I'm on NPR again, Morning Edition, and you can read an excerpt from the book and read or hear the interview here.  It is a memoir of Fraser's life with Harold Pinter, her playwright husband.

I heard half the interview on my way home from the polling place, where I voted before breakfast and had delightful brief conversations with the volunteers about Genevieve Bujold and Adlai E. Stevenson, II, none of which (even the Stevenson) was any form of electioneering.  (I have a wonderful odd life!)

I joined the interview with Stamberg saying, "Once Pinter started writing — in his studio at the bottom of their garden — he worked in a tear," something I can identify with as a writer.  Fraser said he would get into bed and out again, to write some more.

Since I joined the interview in progress, I missed the story of their meeting, the reason for the title of the book, the scandal, et cetera, but I had heard about some of this before and I got caught up by reading at the NPR site.  This is a book I would like to read, a gathering together of incidents and insights from Fraser's diary during her years with Pinter.  And as she is a wonderful biographer herself, I'm sure it is well done.

Stamberg asked Fraser to read the poem "Paris," the first poem he wrote to her.  I came right home and read the poem again in Harold Pinter's Collected Poems & Prose, the first Grove Press edition, a gift from a playwright friend.  My friend got to hear Pinter speak toward the end of his life and found him blunt and curmudgeonly, rude even, but perhaps that was partly due to his long struggle with cancer, and partly due to the state of the world as he was saying goodbye to it.

Pinter won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005.

But then he had to go.

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