Most people’s childhoods shade imperceptibly into their adult lives, writes Andrew Motion. Not his. That ended abruptly at the age of seventeen, on the day his mother had a riding accident from which she never recovered, and of which she slowly died. In the Blood is Motion’s elegy for his lost childhood and his lost mother. It is also the portrait of a whole English world that thought it was finished (but, judging from my Cotswold village, isn’t). And last but far from least, it’s the story of the growth of a writer.
Motion’s home was not a natural one for a writer. His father sounds like Nancy Mitford’s Uncle Matthew, who, if he catches a child reading, bellows ‘If you have nothing to do, go and muck out the stables.’ Richard Motion’s passions are hunting and the army. He cannot talk to