Slipstream by Elizabeth Jane Howard

 B I B L I O R E C C S

Elizabeth Day needs absolutely no introduction from us but as the queen of the intro herself on her superb podcast @howtofailpod (a true lockdown saviour that you must listen to), how could we not attempt to do her justice? Broadcaster, author *and* journalist, Elizabeth has revolutionised the way so many of us think about failure and, ultimately, our life experiences. She is authentic, personable, hugely witty and, as an avid reader and presenter of Radio 4s Open Book and Sky Arts Book Club, we are thrilled that she is our first #biblioreccs guest. We dream of the day we can see her live at one of her sell-out How to Fail tours and then drink outrageously overpriced cocktails with her in a busy London bar but until then, we are thrilled to have @elizabday on our grid.

‘My book recommendation is Slipstream by Elizabeth Jane Howard. 

Elizabeth Jane Howard is one of my all-time favourite authors and is most well-known for writing a loosely autobiographical set of novels called The Cazalet Chronicles, about a family during World War II and then post-war Sussex. It’s such a beautiful collection; she handled this wonderful cast of characters with great aplomb and perceptiveness.

I read the Cazalet Chronicles and then I read her memoir, Slipstream, and it was fascinating to me how much she had drawn from her own life. I feel that Howard was underappreciated as a writer in her own lifetime – often because her work was overshadowed by a string of disastrous love affairs with high-profile men including Cecil Day-Lewis, Laurie Lee and Kingsley Amis (to whom she was married). The Cazalet Chronicles sold by the bucketload, but people sometimes overlooked the incredible skill of her prose: she can inhabit a character like no-one else and her writing has such an acuity and emotional intelligence. She’s a brave, unflinching writer and Slipstream is a phenomenal work of autobiography because it’s so honest. Howard is not afraid of painting an unflattering picture of herself, and she has astonishing insight into her own behaviour. It’s a wonderful book.’

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