Sam Leith

Books podcast: Antonia Fraser’s Israeli diary

Books podcast: Antonia Fraser's Israeli diary
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In this week’s Books Podcast, I talk to Lady Antonia Fraser about her new book. Our Israeli Diary, 1978 is a little time capsule: a day-by-day diary she compiled of a fortnight spent with her late husband Harold Pinter visiting Israel nearly four decades ago, and had thought lost until it more or less tumbled out of a cupboard at her home.

It was a pivotal time. In 1978 Harold and Antonia had left their own marriages but had not yet been able to marry each-other — so they were, as Harold declared at passport control, officially “lovers”. And it was the first visit either she or Harold had ever made to Israel, and reflection jostles in it with broad comedy.

It was a trip that saw Pinter getting to grips with his own Jewishness -- not to mention, on one memorable occasion, his terrible vertigo. There are some winningly Pinteresque diversions. And, this being Harold and Antonia, there’s Champagne with Jackie Kennedy and whisky with Shimon Peres.

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