Page 62 - PB Cat 1999-2021
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  1 Canonbury Park North, Islington drawn by Ann Usborne 2005
‘We were just an ordinary, suburban, Victorian family, undistinguished ourselves and unacquainted with distinguished people.’ Thus Molly Hughes in one of the great classics
of autobiography, A London Child of the 1870s (1934) in which she describes her everyday life in a semi- detached house in Islington as the youngest of a large, characterful family. On first reading, writes Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker, A London Child seemed ‘the most perfect and moving record of ordinary life in English’ and
A London Child of the 1870s MOLLY HUGHES
when he re-read it twenty years later ‘Molly’s book seems to me more painful now than it did when I first read it, but still finer as writing. Here is an ordinary life rendered truly, and joyfully, with a voice at once so self-abnegating yet so gay and funny and precise that we are reminded, in the end, of the one truth worth remembering, that there are no ordinary lives.’ As Adam Gopnik says,
it is Molly’s pictures of everyday life that most stick in the mind: travelling
by bus to the West End, making toffee in the afternoon, walking to St Paul’s on Christmas Day...
The endpaper is taken from ‘Daisy’, a wallpaper designed by William Morris in 1864, manufactured by Jeffrey & Co of Islington, London
200pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781903155516

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