By Fraser Harrison
Fraser Harrison is a British writer with twelve books to his name. He has also written for many national newspapers and magazines in the UK, including the travel section of The Sunday Times, to which he was a regular contributor in the 1990’s.
In 2014 he was awarded an Arts Council grant for a project connected with Thetford in Norfolk. The result was Duleep Singh’s Statue, his last published book. It is a biography of Duleep Sing, the Maharajah of Punjab who was deposed in 1849 and came to live in exile in Norfolk. The book describes his unhappy and controversial life, which has recently been commemorated with an equestrian statue erected in Thetford by the British Sikh community.
Fraser Harrison has written several memoirs about his children and his own childhood, but in Mother Love he has turned to the heartbreaking story of his mother, who died at the age of 103.
I was honoured to be invited into the inner sanctum of the private and personal relationship between Fraser and his mother as it has changed throughout their life long journey together. It is at times difficult to read because of its brutal honesty but it is softened and supported by a genuine seam of love, care, regret and respect. The final stages of a life can be therapeutic in helping us to come to terms with the life that has been, the death that is to come and the living beyond that of those who care. Although a small but precious tribute from a son to his mother, this gem may bring support, comfort and direction to those who are trying to find their own path through those dark days of coming to terms with the life and death of a parent. I sincerely hope that a publisher will consider this book as it only needs to make a difference to one life for it to be invaluable - and that might be yours!
Professor Dame Sue Black, author of All That Remains: A Life in Death
Pro-Vice Chancellor Engagement
Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YW
Mother Love is memoir of Fraser Harrison's mother, Kathleen Fraser Harrison (1916-2019), who died last year, aged 103.
The book is not a formal biography, though his mother is the heroine, even if her behaviour was not always heroic. It is a collection of vignettes, which describe her evolving character and the cardinal stages in her life.
Mother Love is divided into three parts, Beginning, Middle and End. Though short, it forms a complete narrative arc that takes his mother from birth to death, and from childhood to senility.
The first part describes her years as a child, teenager and young woman. In her early twenties, she became a model, but then the war intervened and in December 1939 she was married to his father. A wartime affair with a British airman, while his father was overseas, had a long-term effect on their marriage. She was reconciled with his father, but he redirected his jealousy onto their only son (Fraser Harrison was born in 1944), and their relationship became increasingly rancorous.
The middle section is an account of how his mother sank into depression as a young mother in post-war Liverpool, which she saw as a place of bomb sites, sordid poverty and never-ending fog. She gradually found her confidence, largely through her sense of fashion, and in 1963, a very good time for Liverpool, she opened a boutique. It proved to be a great success. Dubbed the ‘best dressed woman in the north-west’ by the Daily Mail, she enjoyed a brief golden age.
The final section describes her long decline as dementia gradually robbed her of her hearing, her memory and her mind. Her epic longevity became an ordeal both for her and those around her, as she slowly lost everything, except it seemed, the ability to die.
The author describes his conflicted feelings as his role changed from son to quasi-parent, as his mother was replaced by a virtual stranger, as large sums of money were spent on an increasingly empty life, and as his loyalty to a woman he wasn’t sure he loved was sorely tested.
Fraser Harrison: The book is a tribute to my mother. In writing it, I was motivated by a mixture of guilt, admiration and an emotion that I cannot call love, but wish I could.
Additional Information :
Not yet published - 45.000 Words