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A sudden turnaround in family fortunes


My inspiration for The Graduate Wife
Frederic Raphael Writer
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The English upper classes and upper middle classes, and middle classes if they have a chance, I've discovered as I go through life, are extremely good at finding reasons to come and see you if you've got a place they can stay in for nothing. Friendship is apparently rediscovered with great ease by people who need to have a break. And, not only English people because I had an experience recently with some Americans that wasn't too hot, either.

Anyway, Jeremy and Janet arrived at our house and we were poor. I mean, I talk as if we had plenty of money, we had plenty of money to live on, we ran the car, we ate, all the rest, but we weren't… not rich. And, it didn't occur to them to bring us any presents or anything when they arrived, except, of course, their presence. When Beetle told Janet what was for supper, her way of saying thank you was to say, that will be all right. The comedy was that I had heard a number of stories about the fact that Janet was not quite the little English, innocent English rose which had been presented to me in Oxford and at a certain point she had apparently, before getting married I think, run off with some rather seedy man – I don't know who he was – and had been pursued by Jeremy's band of friends from Charterhouse who had retrieved her and brought her home. I don't know whether that's true and if it's true, it's true, we all have comedic element... comic aspects to our lives. Anyway, by now they were married and they had the children. And when we went back to Fuengirola I wrote this book called The Graduate Wife which was essentially about Janet, the graduate wife, and this couple and their incredible good opinion of themselves. Now, it's a funny thing about writing books. I don't know whether people get lots of fan mail, old Willie Maugham said he got a lot of fan mail, but I don't get a lot of fan mail. I get some, not much. The only letter of applause which I received for The Graduate Wife, which was very droll, was from Jeremy and Janet. So, shows how subtle my treatment of them was.

Born in America in 1931, Frederic Raphael is a writer who moved to England as a boy. He was educated at Charterhouse School and was a Major Scholar in Classics at St John's College, Cambridge. His articles and book reviews appear in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and The Sunday Times. He has published more than twenty novels, the best-known being the semi-autobiographical The Glittering Prizes (1976). In 1965 Raphael won an Oscar for the screenplay for the movie Darling, and two years later received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Two for the Road. In 1999, he published Eyes Wide Open, a memoir of his collaboration with the director Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final movie. Raphael lives in France and England and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1964.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: The Graduate Wife

Duration: 2 minutes, 12 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 10 September 2014