Valerie Grove

The Voice of Everywoman

Memoirs of a Not So Dutiful Daughter


Bantam Press 320pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Fanny Burney’s famous account of having her breast cut off without anaesthetic in 1812 was recently read out on Woman’s Hour, a programme whose unflinching and trustworthy ethos is personified in its presenter, Jenni Murray. Whether listening to harrowing tales of pain and loss and human indomitability, or beadily interrogating devious politicians, or confessing to idolising interviewees like Joan Baez, she is the voice of Everywoman. A mother, a daughter of aged parents, a tidy housekeeper, a wife (marrying her children’s father after twenty years together), she is a fallible modern woman who eats too much, smokes too much and approaches the age of sixty with a thinly veiled air of chippiness, the residue of being ‘the working-class girl from Barnsley’ who has always feared being found out.

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

    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,
    • RT : Joanna Kavenna’s ‘Cooking with Trotsky’s Frying Pan’ in June’s is the most well written and interesting… ,