This is the latest in a series of occasional posts featuring books I read years ago about which I was wildly enthusiastic at the time, wanting to press a copy in as many hands as I could.
A rare non-fiction blast from me, this time reprising Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood, her wonderfully eloquent, witty, heart-wrenching memoir which became a surprise bestseller.
Born in Hanmer, Flintshire in 1943, Lorna Sage spent her first years with her mother and grandparents in the village vicarage. Locked in constant combat, Thomas and Hilda were an ill-matched pair: she, constantly hankering after the sweet delights of the Rhonda where she was born, while he drowned his sorrows in communion wine and philandered. When Sage’s father returned from the army, the family moved to a council house. Sage was a lonely child, forever on the fringes, seeking refuge in books. Sexually alluring yet desperately naïve, she became pregnant at sixteen by Vic Sage, a fellow misfit. The two married and, determined to continue with her studies, Sage took her A-levels shortly after giving birth to her daughter. She won a scholarship to Durham University where both she and her husband gained Firsts, later becoming a successful academic.
Bad Blood won the Whitbread Biography Award just a week before Sage died from emphysema in 2001 aged fifty-seven. As she wrote in her Guardian obituary of her close friend, Angela Carter, who died of lung cancer at fifty-one “it’s no use pretending that she wouldn’t have produced new work just as wonderful given the chance”.
What about you, any blasts from the past you’d like to share?
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