> Skip to content
  • Published: 15 July 2014
  • ISBN: 9780099581864
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $19.99

A Corner of Paradise

A love story (with the usual reservations)

A charming and unconventional love story from Costa prize-winning memoirist Brian Thompson

In 1973, Brian Thompson kissed the impossibly glamorous Elizabeth North for the first time, in a busy supermarket car park along the Leeds ring road. This is the story of the unexpectedly joyous consequences – ones to baffle many, not least themselves – until her death, aged 78.

Both were writers, though they came from opposite ends of the social register – she an Admiral’s daughter, he the descendant of unruly Cockney eccentrics. She was by nature a solitary, while he was loud, incurably facetious – and needy. From a tiny Harrogate terrace, to the deeply un-picturesque French farmhouse where they spent their summers, Brian and Liz battled their way to a heart-rending goodbye in an Oxford hospital ward. In many ways, their partnership was ‘an exercise in asymmetry’ – yet, despite the conflicts, they emerge in this deeply-felt memoir as a couple who were lucky enough to find their corner of paradise in one another.

  • Published: 15 July 2014
  • ISBN: 9780099581864
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Brian Thompson

Brian Thompson was born in London in 1935 and now lives in Oxford. He has written three volumes of memoir: Keeping Mum (2006), winner of the Costa Prize for Biography and the PEN/Ackerley Prize, Clever Girl (2007), longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, and A Corner of Paradise (2013). He is also the author of the Bella Wallis mystery series, also published by Chatto.

Also by Brian Thompson

See all

Praise for A Corner of Paradise

A joyous, life-and-love-affirming account

Rachel Joyce, The Times

A portrait of love and grief, both witty and tender


A beguiling mosaic of incidents and anecdotes… Writing of real charm and humour

Sunday Times

Thompson is a terrific memoirist – wry, vivid and with one eye trained unforgivingly on his own failings... A beautifully written, deeply affecting book

Daily Mail

A beguiling mosaic of anecdotes… Real charm and humour

Nick Rennison, Sunday Times

A moving tribute… A refreshingly honest book

Julia Richardson, Daily Mail

A poignant, wry and honest memoir, laced with a self-deprecating wit

Good Book Guide

Good books about being old but feeling young are rare and this is one. Brian Thompson knows how to keep the reader reading

Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Spectator

Thompson writes with a style and a sense of humour that engages the reader and avoids self-indulgence

Douglas Osler, Scotland on Sunday

This tender memorial is told with fun, wit, gentleness and an honesty that does not shrink from the occasional bad temper and tetchiness

Jan Lee, UK Regional Press

Related titles