Diana Athill

A Grand Theme

Blue Remembered Hills: a Recollection

By Rosemary Sutcliff

The Bodley Head 141pp £6.50 order from our bookshop

People write about their childhoods for pleasure: not (if they are interesting writers) a simple ‘wasn’t it fun!’ pleasure, but the poignant one of catching and keeping something which otherwise would be gone for ever. It is a tactic for defying time. Someone interviewing Rosemary Sutcliff about this book remarked that she ‘might have been forgiven’ for not employing this tactic – the implication being that her childhood must have been so painful that only exceptional fortitude could have enabled her to recall it. Miss Sutcliff once won a Girl Guide medal for fortitude, but nevertheless she said in reply that her childhood had been happy; and indeed she persuades us that it was, which makes her story very moving.

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