A Bonfire

Pamela Hansford Johnson

01 March 2012
198 pages


An acute and socially aware novel about relationships through good times and bad, A Bonfire was Pamela Hansford Johnson’s final – and possibly most personal – book, written in 1981, the year of her death.

It tells the story of Emma, from her naive teenage years through her more reflective twenties, as she grows up in the 1920s and 1930s in London, and the characters that surround her: Emma’s well-meaning, overbearing mother, the interminably gloomy Miss Plimsoll and the charismatic Stephen, with whom she falls deeply in love at the age of fifteen.

A Bonfire is a warm, poignant and at times heartbreaking novel, and at its centre a coming of age story told with humour and insight.