Fraser is a highly regarded British biographer, and the late Harold Pinter, her husband, was a Nobel-winning British playwright. So, the circle they generally traveled in was made up of not only fellow writers but also, because of their individual and combined celebrity, fellow celebrities. Fraser’s latest book is both joyous and sad. The former because she shares diary entries concerning her relationship with Pinter (they lived together from August 1975 until Christmas 2008), and it was obviously a stimulating love-match. And sad because the book ends when it does because of Pinter’s death from cancer; his struggle with the disease had been years-long. As expected, given their fame and the fame of their associates, lots of name-dropping goes on here. This is not, of course, the story of two starving artists trying to scratch together a living in some cold-water flat. But privileged as they were, they nevertheless experienced the normal highs and lows together, and the result is a poignant read. Serious readers will generate demand for this title, and they will respond with gratitude to Fraser’s intimacy. --Brad Hooper
“Glowing. . . . There’s hardly a dull page.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
"Entertaining and ultimately touching in its determination to recapture lost time, to portray a younger, more carefree self and to bring back a lost loved one, if only on the page."
—Francine Prose, New York Times Book Review
"A stirring celebration of what Fraser, reflecting near the end of Pinter's life, observed as a union 'to the infinite degree happy beyond all possible expectations.'"
—The New Yorker
"Bold, intimate, madly entertaining. . . . Fraser simultaneously creates a tender portrait of an exciting marriage, and a deliciously detailed account of living in the thick of creativity and fame. A"
"An engrossing, anecdote-rich feat for theater lovers whose tastes extend beyond the glitter of Broadway. . . . The book ultimately sheds humanizing new light on a writer with a public reputation for his stern sense of ethics and the clammy, unsettling spell cast by his plays."
—Charles Isherwood, The New York Times
"It takes a daring biographer to turn her sharp eye on her own life as Antonia Fraser does so movingly and beautifully in her memoir Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter. It's a compelling diary of a passionate love affair, marriage, and 40-year conversation of two soul mates in the milieu of London's chattering classes."
—Tina Brown, The Daily Beast
"Written with a very English, very literate brand of grace and restraint, Fraser's account of their life together (culled from her diaries) is fond and touching. But it's also a crisp, clear-eyed portrait of a shared life of creative work, political activism, wide-ranging travels, family — not always smooth going, sometimes rocky and controversial, but remarkable and fascinating nonetheless. In short, theirs was a fine romance, and Fraser shares that with us."
—The Seattle Times
“Fraser has used more than three decades’ worth of pithy, clever and frequent diary entries as the backbone of this tremendously engaging account. . . . The book works beautifully – as both a rare love story and a sharp portrait of life in the upper echelons of British literary society.”
“A lovely, intimate portrayal of a marriage . . . A wonderful testament to romance, love, shared humor, and true partnership."
—Library Journal, starred review
"A moving compilation of diary entries written during the course of an artistically fruitful three-decade partnership . . . A devoted, respectful tribute."
“Must You Go? is a love story (with a dash of scandal for spice), but it succeeds on many other levels as well. It is a window into British high society, a glimpse of the inspiration behind some of Pinter’s finest achievements and a kaleidoscope of historical and personal events. Most significantly, it is a testament to the 'private happiness' possible in a supportive marriage between two dynamic and ambitious people.”
Praise from the UK:
“This book — full of funny and tender things — satisfies on more than one level. It is an intimate account of the life and habits of a major artist; it is a pencil sketch of British high society in the second half of the 20th century; and it is, more than either of these things, and much more unusually, a wonderfully full description of the deep pleasures and comforts of married love.”
“Must You Go? is extraordinary by any standards. Based on the diaries she kept during her 33-year relationship with the dramatist, it is simultaneously a love story, an intimate portrait of a great writer and an exercise in self-revelation.”
“Neither autobiography nor biography but a love story, romantic, poignant and very funny, illuminating her husband's character and creativity.”
“[Writing] with exemplary clarity and courage . . . Fraser keeps her gaze steady and her heart open.”
“Unremittingly delicious: strange, rarefied, frequently hilarious.”
“[Must You Go? is] told from a privileged backstage perspective, and observed with a sharp eye for social and behavioural detail . . . This book works, just as it appears their lives worked, as the most touching and enduring of love stories . . . The ending, brutal and unsentimentally presented yet filled with a Tolstoyan directness of feeling, is almost unbearably moving. The whole of this lovely book fills you with a gratitude that happenstance can, once in a while, not screw up and find the right girl for the right boy.”