Double Drink Story: My Life With Dylan Thomas Caitlin Thomas (Virago £12.99)

My \ul Dy lrii. ll lli u m s

Never before published - the extraordinary memoir ofa life dedicated to drink and Dylan Thomas

Caitlin McNamara met Dylan Marlais Thomas in a London pub in April of 1936. She was a 23-year-old aspiring dancer and he a promising young Welsh poet a long way from gaining recognition as among the most important of the modern age. They married the following year and had three children.

The location of that first meeting turned out to be sadly auspicious, however, as their years spent together were characterised by neither their love for each other nor for their children, but rather for the endless wash and pull of alcohol‘s darkest tide. 'Ours was a drink story, not a love story', Caitlin writes, and it was one which left Dylan dead in a New York Hospital in the winter of 1953 and she stranded in his wake, a hopeless alcoholic, her own life finally ending in 1994.

The story of Caitlin and Dylan has been told before (by George Tremlett and, most recently, in Paul Ferris' Caitlin: The Life Of Caitlin Thomas). Her own memoir is an unfocused, confused and clumsily constructed piece of writing, particularly so in the sections recounting depthless, run-of-the-mill anecdotes from her country childhood.

In the afterword, her son Francesco (born to her second husband, when she was 49) suggests that this writing helped Caitlin during her sadly belated recovery from alcoholism. Perhaps this is one instance where the therapy would have been best left as a private undertaking. (Damien Love)

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