Scent of Dried Roses
1 journaler for this copy...
(nb. right ISBN, wrong cover - i'll find the right UK cover later)
(22/09) Review to follow
I have included this long quote to illustrate that this is not an easy read, well written (if a little stuffy), nostalgic, personal & very honest, but ultimately rewarding. As well as the depression stuff, this is an autobiography and a biography in which TL traces a very personal family history over a big chunk of the C20th; he’s looking for shape to his own life (‘his story’) and looking for clues as to the causes of his own suicidal thoughts and deep depressions, and why his mother killed herself. There is a sort of muddled conclusion to the latter, which I didn’t completely follow. This book is part of Lott’s own journey towards recovery (never really fully recovered I suggest?), and as such it has a tendency to be self-indulgent, mirthless, and…erm…depressing.
I loved the modern social history of the British, of a new prospering breed of working class with aspirations, as they move out of the cities into an urban ‘subtopia’ of privet hedges, net curtains and indoor plumbing. In the case of the Lotts, and his Father’s in-laws, this was a migration to Southall (West London). This new heartland, and its subsequent outward changes and inward loss of shared morality, community & continuity acts as a very powerful theme running through the whole book. This is almost painfully poignant and very well done, I know, because I was there; a child of the sixties in Harrow, so a bit younger than TL, but with parents & Grandparents uprooted from Fulham & Hammersmith, Neasden & Willesden – builders, bank clerks, office & bakery workers, swapping blue collars for white. A generation or 2 further back (again like Lott), they had come from close rural communities, from the Lincolnshire Fens, villages in Kent & Somerset. These were incredible social changes, the raw materials of a hundred thousand memoirs.
"In the animal kingdom, the rule is eat or be eaten. In the human kingdom, it is define of be defined. The struggle for definition is the struggle for life itself” – Thomas Szasz