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The Scent of Dried Roses: Our Family and the End of English Suburbia - An Elegy
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The Scent of Dried Roses: Our Family and the End of English Suburbia - An Elegy

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  85 ratings  ·  6 reviews
The Scent of Dried Roses An exploration of the author's parents' lives, his mother's inexplicable suicide in her late fifties and his own bouts of depression. It conjures up the pebble-dashed home of his childhood and the landscape of postwar suburban England. It tells a story of grief, loss and dislocation, yet also of the power of memory and the bonds of family love. Ful ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Penguin Books (first published 1996)
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Michael ODonnabhain
I read this book because I live in Southall and Tim is one of the few writers who's written about where I live (okay, it's the other side of the Uxbridge road, but still!). Actually it's a really interesting book about England and subtopia in general. It also deals with depression, suicide and so-called 'mental illness'
I came across this book by pure serendipity, while waiting for the work lift. The title leapt out at me from a shelf of otherwise prosaic biographies and, intrigued, I took a closer look. I'm very glad that I did. The subject matter is hardly a light read - the story of the author's struggle with depression and his mother's ensuing problems with the same condition and subsequent suicide. But it is so beautifully written and such a perceptive analysis of the changing condition and lost worlds of ...more
This is as much a book about depression as it is a biography, an autobiography, a history of English upper working class/lower middle class, of suburbia.
Tim Lott traces back family history to his grandparents' generation in an attempt to make sense of the sudden surprising suicide of his mother Jean and with it paints the picture of his class evolving through history.

Although I bought this book because it deals with depression in a familial environment, I thoroughly enjoyed it throughout. The d
Although a sad book about the suicide of his mother, it is also a book about the history working class Londoners after 1945 and growing up in England during the 60s and 70s. Very touching.
This was a potentially affecting story of Tim Lott's depression and his mother's suicide, set against a backdrop of a rapidly changing Southall. I was very distracted by the fact that Tim can't seem to forgive his parents for being working class, and for that reason comes across as pretentious and unlikeable. The more I read the more I discover how little anyone knew his mother Jean, and even here Tim's story has to eclipse hers.
It's a great memoir of the late twentieth century with magnificent recall of lost brands and rituals evoking a recent past. For me its most magnificent pages are from p.195 on when the laying bare of mental illness takes over. Very carefully and gently observed
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“Depression is about anger, it is about anxiety, it is about character and heredity. But it is also about something that is in its way quite unique. It is the illness of identity, it is the illness of those who do not know where they fit, who lose faith in the myths they have so painstakenly created for themselves. [...] It is a plague - especially if you add in its various forms of expression, like alcoholism, anorexia, bulimia, drug addiction, compulsive behaviour of one kind or another. They're all the same things: attempts to avoid disappearance, or nothingness, or chaos.” 26 likes
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