The Pattern in the Carpet

A Personal History with Jigsaws

By Margaret Drabble
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780547241449, 368pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2009

List Price: $25.00*
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"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.

About the Author

MARGARET DRABBLE is the author of The Sea Lady, The Seven Sisters, The Peppered Moth, and The Needle's Eye, among other novels. For her contributions to contemporary English literature, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2008.

Praise For The Pattern in the Carpet

"Drabble''s nuanced and revealing jigsaw of vivid memories, little-known facts, and astute observations is both mind-expanding and mood-elevating."

"A charming homage...Readers unafraid of doing some extra work will be richly rewarded."

"...a fascinating journey...Drabble charms...One of the true pleasures of the book is following Drabble''s insatiable curiosity, her scholarly zeal for research and love of knowledge for the sake of knowledge to see where she ends up."

Thursday, Dec 3, 2009

Correspondent Susan Stamberg gathers recommendations for the season's best books from booksellers Rona Brinlee, Daniel Goldin and Lucia Silva. Their selections include comics about philosophy, novels about building families, and a box set that dives into the process of writing. More at

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