Bad Blood: A Memoir

Lorna Sage

Lorna Sage’s memoir of childhood and adolescence is a brilliantly written bravura piece of work, which vividly and wickedly brings to life her eccentric family and somewhat bizarre upbringing in the small town of Hanmer, on the border between Wales and Shropshire. The period as well as the place is evoked with crystal clarity: from the 1940s, dominated for Lorna by her dissolute but charismatic vicar grandfather, through the 1950s, where the invention of fish fingers revolutionised the lives of housewives like Lorna’s mother, to the brink of the 1960s, where the community was shocked by Lorna’s pregnancy at 16, an event which her grandmother blamed on ‘the fiendish invention of sex’. Bad Blood is often extremely funny, and is at the same time a deeply intelligent insight by a unique literary stylist into the effect on three generations of women of their environment and their relationships.

Reviews of Bad Blood: A Memoir

    • ‘Bad Blood is pretty much in a class of its own… It is a measure of her achievement that she can turn the peculiarities of her own past – and they are peculiar – into a narrative that speaks for the whole of post-war Britian… This is not just an exquisite personal memoir, it is a vital piece of our collective past.’Daily Telegraph
    • ‘A wonderful book. Women need this kind of book but perhaps men need it more, to give the sort of understanding which we still lack of how girls actually grow up.’Margaret Forster
    • ‘[a] rich, justly acclaimed autobiography … this almost perfect memoir is a tribute to imperfection’ Independent
    • ‘an almost unbearably eloquent memoir … ‘Bad Blood’ is also a tale of shared consciousness, and although the lives Sage describes clash with and limit her own, there is much that is redemptive here, and even elegiac’ Frances Wilson, Guardian
    • ‘This could have been the saddest book you have ever read, but because of Lorna Sage’s relish in the details, her exuberant celebration of the vitality of this clever, surviving girl, it is as enjoyable a book as I remember reading.’ Doris Lessing