Memoir by one of Britain's best-loved actresses
As an actress, Diana Quick was forever trying on the mask of other people's lives - raiding her own memory to service the character she was playing. Coming from a large, noisy family in Kent that seemed to be plain-speaking and straightforward, she was astonished to find on her beloved father's death that his childhood in India was far from idyllic. She was then thunderstruck to hear that he was to have a requiem mass. She had no idea he was Catholic. She discovered that his stepmother had got rid of him and his sister upon marrying his father and that he had grown up in almost total separation from his family. In the India office library she found records of a whole extended family she knew nothing about. Her search for the Quicks in India found roots that go back to Calcutta in the early 18th century.
This is a story of a search for a past, the search for an understanding of exile and denial, and also the story of a very fine actress who has always had a sense of not quite belonging.
Given the plethora of self-serving celebrity memoirs on offer, the lack of ego in her writing is hugely refreshing. Those expecting a tell-all tale of an actor whose consorts include some pretty famous names will, happily, be disappointed. Well able to make judicious use of her experience in both film and theatre to inform the narrative when she chooses, it's to her credit that reticence rules when it comes to matters of her own heart...In disentangling the threads of her own origins she's done a magnificent service to the history of women in India...Quick's painstaking research brilliantly illuminates their hitherto unrecorded plight. A perfect fit for her publishers Virago. Carmen Callil, founder of the imprint who first encouraged her to write, must be very proud indeed. This thoughtful work, a noble endeavour in so many ways, deserves from her audience, a huge round of applause. - Jeanne Crowley, The Irish Times
Fascinating memoir steeped in history...She cleverly combines the story of her acting career with various Indian adventures - Tatler
Richly realised... The book is extremely well ordered, and Quick's writing is as precise, restrained and economical as her acting style - Alfred Hickling, The Guardian
Diana Quick, a highly intelligent actress has written a most original and compelling family memoir which defies categorisation... Quick sets off on a journey to discover her family's beginnings in India, she gives us a plotted, but not superficial, histo - Jonathan Cecil, The Daily Mail