Narrated By: Rose Tremain
Duration: 4 hours and 47 minutes
What to expect
Random House presents the audiobook edition of Rosie: Scenes from a Vanished Life, written and read by Rose Tremain.
Rose Tremain grew up in post-war London, a city of grey austerity, still partly in ruins, where both food and affection were fiercely rationed. The girl known then as ‘Rosie’ and her sister Jo spent their days longing for their grandparents' farm, buried deep in the Hampshire countryside, a green paradise of feasts and freedom, where they could at last roam and dream.
But when Rosie is ten years old, everything changes. She and Jo lose their father, their London house, their school, their friends, and -- most agonisingly of all -- their beloved Nanny, Vera, the only adult to have shown them real love and affection.
Briskly dispatched to a freezing boarding-school in Hertfordshire, they once again feel like imprisoned castaways. But slowly the teenage Rosie escapes from the cold world of the Fifties, into a place of inspiration and mischief, of loving friendships and dedicated teachers, where a young writer is suddenly ready to be born.
Memoirs, Autobiography: literary
Listen to a sample
Rose Tremain turns to non-fiction for the first time with this lyrical account of her life up to the age of 18 ... The evocation of 1950s schoolgirldom, with all its emotions, elations and smells, is wonderfully vivid - distinctive, like being donated a set of dreams ... A quiet drama, but as you'd expect it's the writing that makes this book such a delight
Rose Tremain manages to fit more wisdom, more unforgettable scenes, more illuminating recollections, into this 194-page memoir than other writers do in memoirs three times the length. A book as nourishing, but concise as this makes you wonder why other writers have to be so long-winded ... For anyone who loves Tremain's novels this memoir is a vital companion
Rose Tremain famously eschews autobiographical material in her fiction, so this account of her childhood feels so fresh it stings… [she] brings her formidable talent for characterisation to bear on the vanished, culpable cast of her childhood
Intriguing and moving ... So much more alert and open and alive than so many slightly disappointing memoirs by otherwise great writers ... Rosie is a work of self-discovery in the best possible sense of the word - it pulls you in, unsettles, comforts and exhilarates and, finally, makes you see your life anew
A beautifully written ode to the tenacity of our younger selves