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A RADICAL ROMANCE

Alison Light

  • Original Title: A RADICAL ROMANCE
  • Publication date: October 2019
  • Publisher: Fig Tree
  • Country: GB
  • 256 print pages
  • Factual/Memoirs

Information

  • Epoch: Historical
  • Time Period: 20th century
  • Location setting: United Kingdom
  • Themes: FAMILY, Couple, Mourning, PEOPLE facing life, Life change, Looking back on one's life, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Social relations, Commitment, Friendship, LOVE / HATE, Amorous urge

Pitch

Alison Light met the radical social historian, Raphael Samuel, in London in 1986. 20 years her senior, Raphael was a charismatic figure on the British Left, utterly driven by his work and by a commitment to collective politics. Within a year they were married. Within 10, Raphael would be dead. In this memoir, Alison reflects on the power of mourning and how it shapes a life.

Comments

Awarded the £3,000 PEN Ackerley Prize 2020

'Beautifully crafted...It casts a light on the lightness of love and the profound depression of loss. A truly gifted writer' The Herald

Alison Light is an honorary professor in the Department of English at University College, London, Honorary Professorial Fellow at Edinburgh University and a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford. A regular contributor to the London Review of Books, she is the author of the much-acclaimed MRS WOOLF AND THE SERVANTS and COMMON PEOPLE, which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.

Summary

Alison Light met the radical social historian, Raphael Samuel, in London in 1986. Twenty years her senior, Raphael was a charismatic figure on the British Left, utterly driven by his work and by a commitment to collective politics. Within a year they were married. Within ten, Raphael would be dead.

Theirs was an attraction of opposites - he from a Jewish Communist family with its roots in Russia and Eastern Europe, she from the English working class. In this chronicle of a passionate marriage, Alison Light peels back the layers of their time together, its intimacies and its estrangements.

She tells of moving into Raphael's cluttered 18th-century house in Spitalfields and into his equally full, unconventional life; of the whirlwind of change outside their door which brutally transformed London's old East End districts; of being widowed at 41, and finding inspiration in her friendship with Raphael's mother. Finally she reflects on the power of mourning and how it shapes a life. Through its frank and touching account of a marriage between two very different people, it celebrates the capacity we all have to share our lives and to change our selves.

go further

  • Author’s biography

    Alison Light is a British writer and critic. She is an honorary professor in the Department of English at University College, London, Honorary Professorial Fellow at Edinburgh University and a Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford. A regular contributor to the London Review of Books, she is the author of the much-acclaimed MRS WOOLF AND THE SERVANTS and COMMON PEOPLE, which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.