The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws is an original and brilliant work. Margaret Drabble weaves her own story into a history of games, in particular jigsaws, which have offered her and many others relief from melancholy and depression. Alongside curious facts and discoveries about jigsaw puzzles — did you know that the 1929 stock market crash was followed by a boom in puzzle sales? — Drabble introduces us to her beloved Auntie Phyl, and describes childhood visits to the house in Long Bennington on the Great North Road, their first trip to London together, the books they read, the jigsaws they completed. She offers penetrating sketches of her parents, her siblings, and her children; she shares her thoughts on the importance of childhood play, on art and writing, on aging and memory. And she does so with her customary intelligence, energy, and wit. This is a memoir like no other.
"Reading Margaret Drabble's novels has become something of a rite of passage...Sharply observed, exquisitely companionable tales of women of a certain age and class, educated, egocentric, strong, unlucky in love."
"Margaret Drabble will have done for late twentieth-century London what Dickens did for Victorian London."
(New York Times
"Drabble's fiction has achieved a panoramic vision of contemporary life."