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Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Margaret von Klemperer reviews Kate Turkington’s autobiography. (Courtesy of The Witness)

Some years ago when Kate Turkington’s first book, There’s More to Life than Surface, came out, I interviewed her. She was enormous fun, and we had a lively hour or so together, making her one of the more memorable interviewees I have come across. Now she has turned her hand to a full-on autobiography, ranging from her early days as an evacuee from London in the Second World War to the present, in her ninth decade when, as she tells us, she can still have multiple orgasms.

Her life has certainly been eventful, and not just in bed. She has interviewed “Jesus” on the radio – inevitably he was calling in from California and he made her an honorary angel. From her English roots she has travelled the world, living in a remote part of Nigeria with her first husband who she met at university in the UK, then on to Ireland where she lived with her second husband, although they weren’t married at the time, and on to South Africa where her career as a broadcaster made her a household name. An inveterate traveller, she has visited many corners of the globe, encountering ghosts, good people and bad people.

She has had her share of tragedy and disaster, and a very chequered marital career, and has faced it all with a lack of regret, something she obviously finds important, along with her belief that an unplanned life is the best way to go.

But all that said, by the end of the book, I didn’t really feel that I knew what makes Turkington tick. It’s all fun, lively and discursive, but it doesn’t have a coherent structure, shooting around from one event to another in an episodic way which perhaps hides more than it reveals. It is also somewhat repetitive, though as a book to dip into rather than read straight from cover to cover, it is certainly entertaining. Margaret von Klemperer

Yes, Really! A Life is published by Tafelberg.  ISBN: 978-0-624-0-8367-2