Relations by Jane Miller - review by Jessica Mann

Jessica Mann

The Suffering Sister



Jonathan Cape 288pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

JANE MILLER IS descended from generations of dynamic women, among them a suffragette grandmother who was sent to prison after tying herself to the railings of Holborn Post Office. But when Jane was growing up in the Forties she knew that 'boys were simply and obviously better than girls'. As a mutinous tomboy at co-educational Bedales she made herself learn to swim, dive, run and climb as well as the boys, in order to qualify to join their gang. At university in the early 1950s, she was the only girl in a group of brilliant undergraduates. Cambridge was still a 'city of men, with one female to ten male students. There were still dons who addressed their classes as "Gentlemen".' When Jane arrived late for his lecture an ex-military man ordered his students to their feet.

These memories revived when, during the last year of her mother's life, Jane Miller started to use the volurn.inous fam.ily papers to trace her own descent. Her mother, born into the prosperous Anglo-Jewish Salaman family, was a pa.inter who dismayed her parents by marrying a non-Jew, Robert Collet, a pianist

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