Jan Morris’ memoir, In My Mind’s Eye was published in 2018 as a thought diary. Over 188 days, Jan wrote a daily vignette. The entries vary from short story to poetry, past to present, lament to celebration. They carry a conversational style where the author appears to be speaking directly to you ‘dear reader’, occasionally signing off with ‘see you tomorrow’.
Notably, this memoir begins as the author enters her tenth decade. It is not only the rich and varied life experiences that Jan Morris brings to the page. Her writing displays elegance, curiosity, playfulness, reflection and humour. It also gives us insight into the inner world of a ninety-something year-old which is not something we often have the opportunity to read.
Jan Morris is a Welsh writer who has received numerous awards for her contributions to literature. She is most well-known as a writer of travel, history and memoir. She published under her birth name, James, until 1972, when she had sex reassignment after transitioning from male to female.
Across the 188 days of this thought diary, Jan writes of her daily life in the top-left hand corner of Wales where she lives with her love, Elizabeth. The entries also draw upon her former careers as a soldier in Britain’s best cavalry regiment and as a journalist and foreign correspondent. Morris became renowned as the journalist who accompanied Hillary and Tensing in their ascent of Everest in 1953 and broke the story of their success.
Our group was divided in their responses to this book. Some thoroughly enjoyed her daily thoughts “on everything from the stupidity of sheep and the intelligence of her (sadly deceased) cat, to marmalade and the importance of kindness”. However, others lost interest finding it “pleasant but lacking weight”. All agreed that the author’s broader life was immensely interesting and her emphasis on kindness a welcome theme.
Ratings: Dianne, Claudia, Gail, Janet, Margie, Nicola, Pauline and Viv 3, Kim, Karin, Jenny and Lynda 2.5 and Sandy 3.5.
Hope to see you all there and happy reading!
We are a group that gets together once a month to discuss good books. Each of us gets to choose a book on a rotational basis, preferably one outside our personal comfort zone – we try to keep the trash to ourselves. After the discussion, we comment on other books we read that month. Most of the time we remain friends after the meeting.
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