Details for 'Went to London, took the dog' by Nina Stibbe

Went to London, took the dog

by Nina Stibbe
The follow-up to 'Love, Nina', this is the diary of Nina Stibbe at 61, taking time out from her marriage, back among her literary friends in London.
Went to London, took the dog
by Nina Stibbe
My review:

I have never read the book which brought Nina Stibbe fame and acclaim - Love, Nina (though I did enjoy the film starring Helena Bonham Carter). This is effectively the follow-up, forty years later. Nina is exploring a trial separation from her marriage by leaving home in Cornwall and returning to London, taking lodgings with the novelist Deborah Moggach. 

Nina takes us with her on her 'sabbatical year' in London through the pages of her diary. As such, it's written in clipped and wry observations of daily life in and around Camden - the etiquette of the swimming pool and the laundrette.

She shares her experiences of being a woman of a certain age - having nightmares about thieves breaking in to the house and leaving the television but taking her HRT patches. There are the emotional challenges of having adult children, and coping with the demands of a book tour - putting her back out at the first gig and forgetting to put her suitcase in the car when she leaves one hotel for another. 

As with her other book, she names the people she meets with abandon. While I love to hear behind-the-scenes gossip of well known authors, I'm always concerned that they haven't wanted to be included or known of the reference before it comes out in print. However, at least a couple of the novelists mentioned have given praise quotes, so they can't be that upset!

There's a mention here for Suffolk, when Nina leaves London for a book event at Aldeburgh with India Knight. This is frustratingly sparse on details - and no mention for the organisers, the Aldeburgh Bookshop. 

I don't generally like diaries, but I did rather enjoy this. It is funny and light, and great to dip into. And there's plenty here...

Review date November 2023
Publication date: 2nd November 2023