Lyndall Gordon’s richly-layered memoir DIVIDED LIVES: DREAMS OF A MOTHER AND DAUGHTER is published by Virago on 19 June. The award-winning biographer turns her insightful writer’s eye to her own life and her relationship to her mother – an extraordinary and intensely realised tale of loyalty and division; breakdown and recovery; migration and home.
The book has already received excellent reviews, with Susie Orbach in the Observer calling Lyndall ‘a biographer with soul, she reaches into the hearts of those she brings alive for us’.
There are several chances for readers to catch her around the UK talking about the book in coming months.
On 9 July, Lyndall will be at the Telegraph Way With Words Festival at Dartington Hall. She will be talking about Mothers and Daughters, in the Barn at 5pm. Tickets cost £5 and can be booked online.
On 26 July, she is reading at the Women Writers’ Salon with Maggie Gee, author of VIRGINIA WOOLF IN MANHATTAN, at the Upper Wimpole Street Literary Salon. The event starts at 7 with readings beginning at 7:30.
Later this year, Lyndall will be appearing at Ilkley literary festival, among others.
Lyndall Gordon was born in 1941 in Cape Town, to a mother whose mysterious illness confined her for years to life indoors. Lyndall was her carer, her “secret sharer”, a child who grew to know life through books, story-telling and her mother's own writings. Moving and beautiful, DIVIDED LIVES is a poetic memoir about the pain and joy of being a daughter, that is also an intriguing social history and feminist text, rich in literary reference.
Lyndall Gordon's earlier memoir SHARED LIVES, about her group of young friends growing to womanhood in 1950s Cape Town, is now also available in ebook for the first time.
Praise for Lyndall Gordon:
'An inspired and unconventional biographer' - Independent on Sunday
'Gordon is one of the best biographers writing today.' - - Catherine Hollis, Sacramento Book Review
'Lyndall Gordon is known for the thoroughness of her research and meticulous attention to detail… a fine researcher's eye… an exceptional and unusual mind.' - - Janet van Eeden, The Witness
Praise for DIVIDED LIVES
‘A wonderful – and at times painful – memoir about the expectations of love and duty between mother and daughter.’ – The Bookseller, Editor’s Picks
‘Daughterhood, as Lyndall Gordon demonstrates in her intense and semi-poetic family memoir, is a complex and demanding role. In prose both lyrical and meticulous, Gordon describes a relationship … from which no woman is exempt. A disturbing and often beautiful book that confronts heritage, selfishness, infidelity and obsessive secrecy, and which explores and ultimately celebrates the lifelong emotional seesaw between parent and child.’ – Juliet Nicolson, Evening Standard
‘A biographer with soul, she reaches into the hearts of those she brings alive for us. She makes the meaning of their lives sing and sweat as she invites us into their experiences, their longings, their struggles and their disappointments. In preparation, she has learnt the anguish and the heartbeat of another, the other, her mother, Rhoda, whose presence rules the pages of this memoir. …In this fascinating mix between memoir and biography, we see the struggle of a daughter, to keep an attachment with her mother that is both close and yet boundaried, separate and connected, an attachment in which each can live their dreams.’ – Susie Orbach, The Observer