Recently discovered in the vast collection of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Thomas Hammond’s memoir is an important find. Most 18th-century memoirs were written by members of the elite, but Hammond was a servant. And he was a literary innovator, adapting the techniques of the early novel to autobiography. This is a funny, affecting, thoroughly absorbing story told by a gifted though unschooled writer with a keen eye for detail and a knack for colourful expression. Hammond lived long ago, yet he comes across as modern. The world he describes is strange and interesting, disturbing at times for its violence and injustice but appealing nevertheless for the humour and pragmatism of the people who inhabited it.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
Sign up to our e-newsletter!
Get highlights from the new issue and selected archive articles, as well as exclusive competitions and subscription offers delivered straight to your inbox.
'Some Labour MPs who were shocked by Corbyn’s rise behaved appallingly ... Not only were they disloyal; they also had no coherent strategy for removing Corbyn or an alternative left-of-centre project.'
'As readers, we are immersed in Tambu’s self-alienation, at one and the same time reached out to and held at arm’s length.'
@ellekeboehmer weighs up Tsitsi Dangarembga's Booker-shortlisted novel, 'This Mournable Body'.