Ian Sansom

Thanks for the Memories

Divided Lives: Dreams of a Mother and Daughter

By

Virago 328pp £20 order from our bookshop

I Put a Spell on You

By

Jonathan Cape 288pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Little Failure: A Memoir

By

Hamish Hamilton 368pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Oh, God, no. More memoirs? Really? Who needs them? And who cares? We do, of course. It is the art of our age, as it is the art of every age. In the end, every scribbler eventually finds their way back to themselves, to the true hoard, and to the beginning. ‘It is long ere we discover how rich we are,’ writes Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay ‘Intellect’:

Our history, we are sure, is quite tame: we have nothing to write, nothing to infer. But our wiser years still run back to the despised recollections of childhood, and always we are fishing up some wonderful article out of that pond; until, by and by, we begin to suspect that the biography of the one foolish person we know is, in reality, nothing less than the miniature paraphrase of the hundred volumes of the Universal History. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Volume five, then, but still no end in sight. Sandbrook is clearly enjoying himself so much he can’t bear the seri… ,
    • 'By the end of the book something so weighty, stylish and impressive has been built up that one feels far nearer to… ,
    • 'Her ensuing psychotic episode is described so convincingly ... that the reader will wonder if Dobrakovová did not… ,
    • 'The perspectives complement and contest one another, amounting to a glorious, atmospheric set of ventriloquisms.'… ,
    • RT : I reviewed The Testaments for . I will not be taking any questions at this time. ,
    • 'The Testaments is, first and foremost, a manual of resistance ... a type of resistance that is organised, articula… ,
    • 'I did occasionally wonder whether Rupert Murdoch ... might have instructed his editors at William Collins to produ… ,