REVIEW by Hayley Long

NWR Issue 106

Other People's Countries: A Journey into Memory

by Patrick McGuinness

More than halfway through this extraordinary account of his family history, Patrick McGuinness pauses to ask, ‘Where to begin and where to finish?’ And with this moment of apparent uncertainty, McGuinness lays his writing objectives bare. His mission is not to provide the reader with the carefully air-brushed and chronological storytelling of more traditional biographies but – as the subtitle promises – to explore and make sense of the jumble of memories and anecdotes which have amassed in his head throughout a lifetime.

But the question of exactly where to begin is just as pertinent for a reviewer. Despite the confident assertion of biography on the dust jacket, McGuinness’ book defies categorisation...

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previous review: Berlin: Imagine a City
next review: Footfalls in the Silence: A Memoir


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