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Cider with Rosie

Updated Tuesday 20th October 2015

Discover Laurie Lee’s glamorous London life and explore the village he made famous.

Explore Cider with Rosie with an exclusive video and activities.

Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee’s memoir of growing up after the First World War, is set in the tiny Cotswold village of Slad. Family friends and local historians will testify that Lee was not always strictly faithful to the literal truth in the book, blending fact with fiction in his wistful elegy to a disappeared rural world. Nevertheless, these intoxicating and poetic descriptions of youth capture the essence of a life lived one hundred years ago, an aspect of the book which has made readers treasure it in the generations since.

The book had a long gestation period, and a difficult composition process, but eventually became the break-out hit of Lee’s literary career. Under the surface of countryside idyll, the dark, hard-edged undercurrents of the book continue to have a popular appeal.

The real life identity of the Rosie immortalised in the book’s title has always been an intrigue. While the author always maintained that she was a composite of several of his early girlfriends, there are some tantalising clues that hint at her being a particular neighbour of the young Lee. But ultimately it wasn’t Rosie who was to prove the biggest influence on Lee’s young life; it was his Mother, whose depiction in the book remains one of the most powerful in all literature.

Video: Cider in bohemia

Adventures: What happened next and walk with Laurie Lee

The Secret Life of Books - Find out more about the other books in the series.

If you're inspired to try writing some fiction of your own, OpenLearn has plenty of courses, podcasts and advice to turn your ideas into reality. Take your interest further by finding out what it's like to study Creative Writing at the Open University.


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