Must You Go?
The sub-title of the book declares its contents: this is 'my life with Harold Pinter', not my complete life, and certainly not his. In essence, it is a love story and as with many love stories, the beginning and the end, the first light and the twilight, are dealt with more fully than the high noon in between, described more impressionistically.
I have based it partly on my own diaries: these have been kept since October 1968 when I suffered from withdrawal symptoms after finishing my first historical biography Mary Queen of Scots which had been the centre of my existence for so long. I have also used my own recollections, being careful to distinguish between the two, immediate reactions (I always write my Diary the next morning unless otherwise noted) and memories. I have also quoted Harold where he told me things about his past, once again noting the source and have occasionally quoted his friends talking to me on the same subject. Looking back at the Diaries, I see that I always paid special attention to any green shoots where Harold's writing was concerned. Although it was not a conscious process, I suppose this was a consequence of a biographer living with a creative artist and observing the process first hand.
Harold and I lived together from August 1975 until his death thirty three and a half years later on Christmas Eve 2008. 'O! call back yesterday, bid time return,' cries one of his courtiers to Richard II. This is my way of doing so.
Antonia Fraser – Biographical notes
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 Lot in Seventeenth Century England (Wolfson Award for History, 1984), The Warrior Queens: Boadicea’s Chariot, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Marie Antoinette: The Journey (Franco-British Literary Prize 2001), which was made into a film by Sofia Coppola in 2006 and now most recently Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King. Antonia Fraser was made CBE in 1999, and awarded the Norton Medlicott Medal by the Historical Association in 2000.