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The Last Landlady Reviews

The Last Landlady by Laura Thompson

The Last Landlady

An English Memoir

Laura Thompson

4.00 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: Unbound
Publisher: Unbound
Publication date: 15 Apr 2018
ISBN: 9781783525027

Laura Thompson’s grandmother Violet was one of the great landladies. Born in a London pub, she became the first woman to be given a publican’s license in her own name and, just as pubs defined her life, she seemed to embody their essence.

  • The GuardianBook of the Year
4 stars out of 5
Kathryn Hughes
1 Dec 2018

"you really mustn’t miss Laura Thompson’s brilliant The Last Landlady: An English Memoir "

You really mustn’t miss Laura Thompson’s brilliant The Last Landlady: An English Memoir...This is a wonderfully observed story about female agency in the postwar period, complete with a generous slash of Estée Lauder lipstick, a little light leopard print and a permanent fug of Benson & Hedges


5 stars out of 5
19 Dec 2018

"captures with extraordinary vividness what “proper” pubs are"

...this memoir is informed by a deep sensitivity. It also captures with extraordinary vividness what “proper” pubs are, and why people who prize them mourn their loss... Such places have a casual profundity. The proper pub is not just about revelry, Thompson suggests; it “accommodates the miserable, the misfits, those who are in their seats at curtain up, having nothing in their lives to make them late”. And it does so without patronizing them. 

5 stars out of 5
5 Dec 2018

"a lyrical portrait of a fast-vanishing way of life"

Laura Thompson offers us a lyrical portrait of a fast-vanishing way of life and why it cannot be sustained in a world of Instagram, iPhones and gluten-free certainties... Thompson is a terrific writer, and her detailed evocation of the day in the life of the pub...has all the visual richness and emotional power of a Terence Davies film... The Last Landlady is any number of love letters to any number of things...but it is, more than any of these, a celebration of a singular kind of female independence...

  • The SpectatorBook of the Year
3 stars out of 5
22 Sep 2018

"intense evocation occupies most of this book."

There are other elements to this memoir of the perfect English pub and its perfect landlady — a bit of literary history, a bit of social history, a bit about the very sorry fact that pubs such as this and pubs in general are disappearing so quickly — closures are now happening at up to 30 a week. But it’s the intense evocation that occupies most of this book. This is impressive in its way but, rather like watching a footballer who’s great at keepie-uppie — one thousand, four hundred and fifty-five, one thousand, four hundred and fifty-six, one thousand four hundred and fifty-seven — it’s all just too samey, despite the talent on relentless display.