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Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  869 ratings  ·  197 reviews
A unique testimony to modern literature's most celebrated and enduring marriage.
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published October 15th 2010 by George Weidenfeld & Nicholson (first published 2010)
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3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  869 ratings  ·  197 reviews

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Petra Eggs
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jenny Brown
Feb 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read it years ago but it was so fresh and spontaneous and romantic . The book was sincere and it showed the creative side of both Lady Fraser and Harold Pinter
Fred Moramarco
Feb 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 30, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs-bios, arc
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!
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Lori Ann
Dec 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
Gayla Bassham
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I admit I was rolling my eyes at the beginning of the book with all of the posh talk about dinner parties with the upper crust of British society and deciding how to divide up multiple houses when the Frasers divorced. But -- once I had turned off the part of my brain that cares about income inequality -- this memoir won me over. If you're looking for a lot of information about Pinter's work or writing process, you won't find it here: this is an affectionate account of a long and happy marriage. ...more
Mark Farley
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Seth Mann
Dec 18, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thank Antonia Fraser for writing this book and taking me places. If I couldn't be married to my own current dearly beloved husband, I sure would enjoy being married to a Nobel prize-winning playwright. If you read this, you will mostly be treated to her journal entries and find out things like what plays they attended, where they ate dinner, (and with what famous people) and how his writing is going and how her writing is going. You must know that. So it's not the story of the marriage, per se ...more
Sep 04, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Elizabeth Bradley
Jan 04, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Nov 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Another case where I wish Goodreads would incorporate the half star as I would give this a 3.5 if possible. A bit tedious in spots; however, for the most part the writing is witty and the subject matter is interesting and poignant.
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
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"???
Only 15 pages in, but already I want to devote my life (OK, well the next week) to reading this book.
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful account of love. Highly recommend
Dec 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs-and-bios
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.
Dianne Lange
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Maybe if I was more familiar with Pinter's plays, I would have enjoyed this more. Don't expect juicy gossip but a very positive spin on Fraser and Pinter's life together.
Nov 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
What an egomaniac.
Nicola Pierce
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just loved this. I had never read Antonia Fraser before and I didn't know much about herself or Pinter but, my goodness, this was a beautiful book. Concentrating ultimately on their falling in love and, consequent, marriage, it is unavoidable that she also charters the paths of their respective, and brilliant, careers. Aside from anything else, it is a brave, moving and loving tribute to the poet and playwright who gradually succumbed to cancer following a long and fierce battle. I finished it ...more
Celia Kaltenbach-crotteau
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Using diary entries which she occasionally comments on, Antonia Fraser retells the blossoming of a beautiful love story, that between her and playwright Harold Pinter. Both were successful authors when they met. Both were also married and left their spouses to live together and eventually marry. That match lasted approximately thirty years, until Pinter's death from cancer soon after he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. While I enjoyed Fraser's informal format, I occasionally did not know ...more
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Antonia Fraser is the author of many widely acclaimed historical works, including the biographies Mary, Queen of Scots (a 40th anniversary edition was published in May 2009), Cromwell: Our Chief of Men, King Charles II and The Gunpowder Plot (CWA Non-Fiction Gold Dagger; St Louis Literary Award). She has written five highly praised books which focus on women in history, The Weaker Vessel: Women's ...more