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events and moments to relate is arbitrary and quite selective. Because of this, writers have told their own stories in various deconstructed modes – confused chronology, changes in voice, interjections of other kinds of plot. A ‘life’ emerges out of this, but not one packaged and complete. In a final chapter of his book, Richard Hoggart suggests that autobiographical writing must discover ‘a shape proper to itself’, one which emerges from the material. He wasn’t writing with the benefit of knowing more recent critical discussions of ‘life-writing’, but it’s the same

in Austerity baby