“Damsons hung so heavy on the trees…

…that branches snapped off under the weight.”*

*From: Foreign Country – The Life of L.P. Hartley (2001), by Adrian Wright:

“…It is doubtful that Leslie Hartley would have approved of his
biography being written. Like the elderly, hypochondriac writer Richard Mardick in The Brickfield (1964), he was troubled by the relationship between biography and truth. Richard warns the male companion who threatens to write a memoir of him:

‘If they want to know about me, I’d rather they knew the truth.
They mustn’t know it, that’s the difficulty.’
‘They mustn’t know it?’
‘On no account. If I tell you, I won’t bind you to secrecy, it
isn’t necessary, but nobody must ever, ever know.’
‘Then why tell me, if I’m not to put it in the book?’
‘For two reasons. One is that I don’t like the idea of dying with a secret. And the other is that though you can’t put it recognisably into the memoir, you can make its presence felt, just as you can describe the results of an accident without describing the accident itself. You can show me as the product of the experience.’

Harley’s attempts at autobiography are his novels. The Brickfield is the most truthful and revealing because by the time he wrote it the leading figures of his story – his mother, father and Aunt Kathleen – were dead…”

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