Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter
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Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  604 ratings  ·  173 reviews
A moving testament to one of the literary world's most celebrated marriages: that of the greatest playwright of our age, Harold Pinter, and the beautiful and famous prize-winning biographer Antonia Fraser.

In this exquisite memoir, Antonia Fraser recounts the life she shared with the internationally renowned dramatist. In essence, it is a love story and a marvelously insig

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Hardcover, 328 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by George Weidenfeld & Nicholson (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Petra X
Memoir of a marriage between two people at the top of the literary game who had spouses, six children between them when they met, but cared more for each other than them. After their first meeting Pinter said to the author, "Must you go?" and the lust became an affair became marriage. 33 years of being in love, not just loving.

True love sometimes involves hurting others, when should we do our duty and when should we be true to ourselves? Antonia Fraser never addresses this or any other question...more
Jenny Brown
Real Housewives of Literary London.

I have rarely been this disappointed in a book. If reading a daytimer gets you off, you'll love it. But if you want to know what people were thinking and feeling while committing adultery, leaving their 6 kids behind, and dining with the rich famous, you're out of luck.

The author gives us no insight into why she fell so in love and her behavior comes across as selfish and blind to the needs of others. She drops names without any explanation of who they might be...more
Fred Moramarco
Hemingway wrote somewhere that when two people are deeply in love, it is
Inevitable that their story will end in tragedy, since one will quite likely out-
live the other. I've been thinking about this recently because in the last few years I've read a handful of books by widows who were in deeply reciprocated love relationships and who write about those relationships in retrospect with great affection and a deep sense of loss. These books include Joan Didion's The Year of Living Dangerously, Sandr...more
Kasa Cotugno
Who can resist a rollicking, passionate love story, but even more so, when the characters are vital, alive and have so many dimensions as this karmic couple. Antonia Fraser and Harold Pinter are level headed, famous and accomplished, married quite happily to others, when they meet in 1975 and are immediately transfixed, experiencing an instant magnetism that blazes off the page. The words in the haunting title, "Must You Go," were actually spoken from him to her that fateful night following an o...more
Ann
Please call her "Lady" Antonia, after all, her father was an Earl. She relates that she was quite relieved when at a dinner party the host correctly sat her to his right; the rightful place for the daughter of an Earl. Did she mention she is the daughter of an Earl? No doubt a fascinating life, lived around the best and the brightest. But this person is everything wrong with the British class system. Not a mention about how leaving her six (6!) small children might have affected them. Hmmmm. Gue...more
Leendert
precious precious people. started out well, but i was annoyed beyond belief by the end of it. finishing this book was a chore and perhaps a way of making sure i'll remember never to read anything about pinter again.

maybe that's a bit strong.

but really - a guy who labors for days over those sort of poems included in the memoir and can still win a nobel, albeit as a playwright, really?

the whole thing of screeching for the rights of the repressed and dispossessed, whilst living a life of luxury, d...more
Mark Farley
A tender and warm, fascinating narrated memoir, with extracts from her extensive diaries, this historian recounts her long marriage with the poet Harold Pinter, eventually documenting his fight with, and eventual death, from cancer.

While not the usual type of book that I read, I had a vested interest as I have met both subjects a few times working at their local branch of Waterstones. Not only were they regular customers during my years there, but I did a reading event for Antonia about a year...more
Kayleen
I only finished this book because I owe a review for the ARC. Ugh! 300+ pages of self-important boring diary entires and endless name dropping. I've never read any of her books before, and based on this, never will again!
Tara
If there’s one thing you walk away with after reading Antonia Fraser’s memoir Must You Go, My Life with Harold Pinter, it’s that she and her second husband Harold Pinter were deeply in love. Reading a memoir that doesn’t focus exclusively on tribulations its author has overcome is refreshing. Remarkable, even. Fraser has chosen to share what appears to be the happiest period of her life. And in the process proves Tolstoy wrong.

At a party in 1975 Antonia Fraser was involved in a conversation that...more
Seth
I enjoyed following the ebb and flow of Harold Pinter's and Antonia Fraser's 30+ years together. Fraser has successfully and naturally documented how they dedicated their lives to sharing myriad successes, failures, joys and hardships. Fraser maintains an honesty and matter-of-factness throughout. This not only makes their love feel familiar but also humanizes the circles in which Pinter and Fraser circulate - circles populated with an extraordinary cast of political leaders, intelligentsia, aut...more
Linda
MUST YOU GO tells the tale of a then, scandalous affair, in British literary circles. The affair ended in a long marriage between Harold Pinter and Antonia Fraser (after they divorced their other spouses) and is told in the most decorous of language. Written from Fraser's diary entries beginning in 1975, it describes the lusty thunderbolt that struck these two literary lights and continued forever. It is fun to read. A memoir, the tale is rife with ever-so-many plays begun and written; directed;...more
Kristine
Antonia Fraser, born in London in 1932, is a Brit of privilege ("Lady" Antonia Fraser); historian; successful writer in various genres (non-fiction includes The Weaker Vessel, The Warrior Queens, Marie Antoinette; detective fiction includes Quiet as a Nun and other Jemima Shore books); mother of six children by first husband Sir Hugh Fraser (b. 1918) who was an MP in The House of Commons from 1945-1984 and step-mother of one by her second husband, the 1975 Nobel Laureate/playwright and screenwr...more
David
I had forgotten that Antonia Fraser had written a memoir of her life with Harold Pinter. So when I opened a present from one of our neighbours at Christmas and found "Must You Go", I was both surprised and delighted. It is actually a wonderful story of their thirty three years together. What started as an affair in 1975 became a marriage which is described as a wonderful love story until Harold's death in 2008. The book is based on Antonia's diaries, and these are quoted verbatim with occasional...more
Mam
Was there ever a better, or more bittersweet title for a widow's memoir? Fraser tells us she chose her title because it was what Harold Pinter asked her as she left after their first encounter. A lovely arc.

I wanted the memoir to be as lovely as the title suggested, especially because Fraser says she complied most of the memoir from the diaries she kept throughout their long marriage. After all, this is the story of two married prominent people, one the mother of six children, who were so besott...more
James
Seldom have I read a book so filled with literary references. They are on every page and, while Antonia Fraser's memoir of her life with Harold Pinter is lightweight, it is intellectually charged with interesting bits of flotsam and jetsam from the literary world of a couple who were immersed in literary lives and lights.
It was while at a social gathering in 1975 that Ms. Fraser walked up to Pinter, before leaving, to say that she liked his play, “The Birthday Party.” The two barely knew each o...more
Ellen Herbert
Have started my reading year with what may well be one of the top books ever completely relished and enjoyed.
Antonia Fraser has long been a favorite biographer and here she documents her life with Harold Pinter drawing from her recollections and Diary that she has kept assiduously through-out her life.

Not sentimental, but heart-wrenchingly real - recounting a courtship wrought with heartache and scandal and a long, creative and fearless union lived privately and quite in the public view. Human...more
Judy
Antonia Fraser was a respected author, wife of a Conservative Member of Parliament, and the mother of six children and Harold Pinter was a celebrated playwright, married to a well-known actress, and father of a son when they met in 1975. They fell in love, quickly divorced their spouses, and married. Their love story lasted for 33 years until Pinter's death in 1975. This memoir of their love story is based on Fraser' diaries. While it details their activities and literary successes over their pe...more
Elizabeth Bradley
Bought this for my mom for Christmas; someone else bought it for her, so I grabbed the non-gift copy and read it during the hols. Came away with a few realizations:

1. Fraser doth protest too much: she IS a Mitford character come to life.
2. I really need to be better acquainted with Pinter's work.
3. London is a small town if you're a literato.
4. Their love was profound, home-wrecking, poem-making, enduring, gorgeous etc. and I don't mean to diminish it in any way but it was so clearly made possib...more
Eleanor
I wanted to read this book because I had read books by Antonia Fraser and plays by Harold Pinter and knew that their marriage had caused more than a bit of scandal in the 1970's. Fraser knits together excerpts from her diaries rather than organizing a chronological narrative, a device which works well. Pinter and Fraser knew an amazing number of artists, actors, politicians, and other famous people, many of whom she writes about. The strongest part of the book, however, depicts the love that the...more
Corinne Higgins
It's very clear that there is a reason interesting and intelligent people tend to congregate and that is because without each other, they wither. The value of these relationships enriches Ms. Fraser's lovely memoir, which is both a diary and a loving song to her now deceased husband. Beginning with the evening they met and ending with his death, her diary entries tell a story of their love, clear to them both immediately, that only grows over the next 33 years.

The diary is edited for thematic c...more
Cheryl
Readers would have no intimate knowledge of the lives of writers Howard Pinter and Antonia Fraser without MUST YOU GO?, a heartwarming memoir of perseverance in love (both were married to other people when they met) and death (Howard's challenging long illness). How do two remarkably creative writers share family, work, and public criticisms in the times of their lives? Thanks to Ms. Fraser's generosity, readers are able to share in this beautiful love story!
Mimi
I completely changed my mind about this book half way through. At first I was disappointed that it was pages from Antonia Fraser's diary, and full of name dropping. They were, after all, a very famous couple. The title comes from one of their first conversations when she is about to leave a party, and he says "Must you go?" This is really an extraordinary love story told with lots of compassion and history, so in the end, I quite liked it.
LAPL Reads
Sometimes true love does not take hold at a convenient time, does not make sense to outsiders or create good sense in those whom it grabs and spins around in a whirl of emotion, and so it was with Lady Antonia Fraser, historian and novelist, and Harold Pinter, playwright, director and actor. When they met briefly at a dinner party, January 8, 1975, Fraser said, ". . .now I'm off." Pinter asked, "Must you go?" The answer was no and thus the title and remembrance, in diary format, of their love st...more
Melinda
oh, I really liked both of them before reading this book. remember Holly Hunter's anguished response to the sarcastic question..."it must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room"???
Rory
Yay for getting back to reading! This was a bit of dazzle, incredibly romantic, somehow both real and unreal, will be loved by suckers for love and folks interested in geniuses, and Anglophiles.
Lori Ann
Please, please go. Life is too short for me to finish reading about the irresponsible, navel-gazing, drivel of these two. They just seem to live in some alternate universe.
Kaitlyn Barrett
I smell things while I read this book. Super heated pavement, sand and tropical water, 70’s deodorant, sweat, cigarette smoke, sweet perfumes, aqua net hairspray. And she never talks about smells. But this book is so very much of the 70s without much visual description that I feel like I’m there with my eyes closed. It’s romantic and heart breaking to think of them leaving their partners for each other. I like her turns of phrase like the comment that she “narrowing missed being extinguished by...more
Bronwyn
Only 15 pages in, but already I want to devote my life (OK, well the next week) to reading this book.
Andrew Wiggins
Such a pleasing love story, with many a surprising insight, leading to a very moving end.
Sue
What an egomaniac.
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Lady Antonia Fraser (Pinter), CBE, is a British author of history and novels, best known as Antonia Fraser for writing biographies and detective fiction, and the second wife of Harold Pinter, the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Literature.

Series:
* Jemima Shore
More about Antonia Fraser...
Marie Antoinette: The Journey The Wives of Henry VIII Mary Queen of Scots Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King The Warrior Queens

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