What to Look for in Winter: A Memoir in Blindness

What to Look for in Winter: A Memoir in Blindness

Candia McWilliam

Language: English

Pages: 464

ISBN: 0062094505

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The British literary sensation—“the most startling, discomforting, complicated, ungovernable, hilarious and heart-rending of memoirs ” (The Telegraph)—the story of a celebrated writer’s sudden descent into blindness, and of the redemptive journey into the past that her loss of sight sets in motion. Candia McWilliam, whose novels A Case of Knives, A Little Stranger, and Debatable Land made her a reader favorite throughout the United Kingdom and around the world, here breaks her decade-long silence with a searing, intimate memoir that fans of Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood, Mary Karr’s Lit, and Diana Athill’s Somewhere Toward the End will agree “cements her status as one of our most important literary writers beyond question” (Financial Times).

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forty minutes. I thought that it would be a bore to pass out. It might also be quite pleasant to pass out if I was going to spend forty-eight hours alone with my odd leg. What was wrong with it? The foot was pointing the other way. It was pointing backwards. I took it in both my hands, pulled my foot away from its leg and did my best to turn it round, so that the toes would point forwards. Nothing hurt because I held all my thinking away from my left leg. I cut off its messages. It was the

in the coming weeks to work out what this acute man had said. We had fun thinking of things that he would be least likely to say. These included: How was your journey? Are you staying locally? And the family, how are they taking it? Christmas plans, at all? What a relief it was. Does the mutton roast want to be asked about its native pastures by the man with the whetstone and the blade? We took against him for about two minutes each and then without knowing it we turned him into a hero. I

loved my father. That she told me this on the day before she was no more does not empty it of a meaning that I can utilise to reflect back into the marriage, although memory also suggests that, while it wasn’t a very happy marriage, they knew great happiness at some point in and with one another. I do not think that happiness came into it much at that time. There were other things that life was for. Certainly, you did not set out to find happiness. I don’t think that that was untypical. The

round for lunch with me in my marital home. ‘What happened to your mother?’ he asked. ‘She died,’ I said. ‘Oh,’ he said. ‘What are you doing this afternoon?’ As I’ve said, a number of people have wanted to tell me what my mother did in her last days, or on her last day. I have no desire to know. I may be wrong in this. Other people are involved, and I don’t want them hurt. I don’t want anecdotes or gossip. I want the emotional truth, so I can make her better. And that I cannot have. I want

to one. I was going to have to be rude. Luckily, she, according to some ways that one might interpret it, got in first. She entered our drawing room, which we had been titivating and filling with flowers, with a very large box, perhaps a yard wide and a foot deep. From it there came a smell that combined every single pong that makes you want to chuck. It was not a question of a light whiff of white truffle, or a little farmyard on her boots. It was everything that no Parsi–no, no person–would

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