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Summary

In London during the interwar years, five women's lives intertwined around one address. Mecklenburgh Square, on the radical fringes of Bloomsbury, was home to activists, experimenters and revolutionaries; among them were the modernist poet H. D., detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers, classicist Jane Harrison, economic historian Eileen Power, and author and publisher Virginia Woolf. 

In an era when women's freedoms were fast expanding, they each sought a space where they could live, love and - above all - work independently.

From the square, these trailblazing women pushed the boundaries of scholarship, literary form and social norms. Taking us into the emotional texture of their lives, Francesca Wade's luminous group biography reveals five unforgettable characters who forged careers that would have been impossible without these rooms of their own.

©2020 Francesca Wade (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Critic reviews

"Elegant, erudite and absorbing, Square Haunting is a startlingly original debut, and Francesca Wade is a writer to watch." (Frances Wilson)

"A fascinating voyage through the lives of five remarkable women - a moving and immersive portrait." (Edmund Gordon)

What listeners say about Square Haunting

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Reading could be better

Relying solely on the audio for this book entails lacking interesting photographs of its various protagonists and the square itself. While Corrie James is a clear-voiced reader with a plummy voice suitably appropriate for conjuring the atmosphere of interwar Bloomsbury, she periodically mispronounces certain words that might easily have been remedied by input from someone at Whole Story Audio. I've made this comment before about Whole Story Audio productions and it seems they clearly don't employ anyone competent enough to advise otherwise good actors (and, as I say, James is quite a good reader in terms of expression and voice) on correct pronunciation. Words mispronounced and/or wrongly stressed here include Caius (as in the College), Gaudy (as in _Gaudy Nights_ -- which is mentioned a lot and grew increasingly annoying with repetition), clef (as in Roman à clef), Semele, harem, graduates (as noun), supine, and presage.

13 people found this helpful

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Divine

A vital, beautifully written book about five extraordinary women. I fell in love with every one of them - Francesca draws them so deftly, so minutely. The narration was also superb - measured and subtle. I highly recommend this.

1 person found this helpful

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A great account of the lives of prominent women

This is a bit of an eye opener into the varied and tragic lives of many prominent people of their time. Their lust for life is, often at the cost of other people's happiness.

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Not To Be Missed

A very satisfying read, beautifully read. The author has written a fascinating narrative combining clever and revealing biography with London topography. I look forward very much to future books by Francesca Wade. I especially admire the way the author has shaped and constructed her book to provide such an absorbing read.

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Fantastic book

Absolutely loved this, and (aside from a few weird pronunciation things) the performance was great

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Oddly comforting

Listened to this during lockdown and it was on the one hand escapist (and fascinating) and on the other quite comforting because the women endured war etc. Hard to explain, but perfect listening experience. Well read, too

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Excellent

Excellent and educational. Great biographies of some sadly neglected female writers. Going to reread A Room of One’s Own now. Fantastic listen.