€15 in Ireland £15 sterling in the UK. Inclusive of postage.
At a matinee of Durrenmatt’s The Visit starring Lauren Bacalll, a little girl came up to you during the interval, and asked, ‘Are you famous?’ You said, ‘No’. The little girl promptly pressed her autograph book in your hands. She had already written in bold letters, ‘For Margaret Bigge’. You signed a little ‘m’ under it.
In this remarkably original and tender book the Irish writer and poet Augustus Young remembers ‘m’, his self-effacing, fiercely independent Scottish wife Margaret.
A biker with a doctorate in Victorian theatre, and a ghost writer of many books in social science, ‘m’ spent her last years in Port Vendres, near the French border with Catalonia. Young describes how she integrated into the life of the town, setting up the Charles Rennie McIntosh Association (the great architect died there), amongst other things, not least devoting herself to reading, in French, every novel that had won the Prix Goncourt.
The great merit of Young’s memoir (one half poetry, the other prose) is its recognition that such details, however telling, can only hint at the wholeness of ‘m’s’ witty and mysterious self.