‘A compelling mixture of charm, humour and wisdom.’
Our Israeli Diary
Of That Time, Of That PlaceAntonia Fraser
In May 1978 Harold Pinter and Antonia Fraser visited Israel at the time of the 30th Anniversary of Independence. It was three years after they first lived together; neither had set foot in Israel before. Based in Jerusalem, they toured many of the country’s historic sites: from Bethlehem to the fortress of Masada, encountering future Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek, Jackie Kennedy and a long-lost cousin of Harold’s on a kibbutz. It was a trip during which Pinter’s feelings about his heritage emerged for the first time. As he said himself: ‘For the first time I feel Jewish’.
This diary was kept daily by Antonia Fraser: the vivid narrative and descriptions (Antonia swimming in the Dead Sea while Harold had a beer) are leavened with humour, occasionally wry where Harold’s quirks were concerned, and always tender. Above all, it is a unique picture of a time and place – and a touching insight into fifteen days in the lives of two writers, one Jewish, one Catholic, one a playwright and one a biographer, who were also a devoted couple.
‘A little gem of a book that offers a snapshot of Israel 30 years after independence; sharp insights into a range of characters from Shimon Peres to Jackie Kennedy.’
‘Engaging…above all an interesting account of a time and a place.’
‘Wise and witty…Fraser’s personality shines through here: ever curious, good-natured, with an ear for memorable one-liners.’
‘Rather fun…unguarded, unpolished and often quite funny.’
‘...a fabulous book...[Antonia Fraser is] a natural-born conjuror of lost realities... Exemplary, unparalleled, and peerless.’