Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hawking's ex writes second memoir

Ruth Hessey  08/02/2011 - Stuff.co.nz
SECOND CHANCE: Jane Hawking's first memoir was criticised for its negative portrayal of her marriage to renowned physicist Stephen Hawking.
As we step into the shade of a huge fig tree on a hot summer's day, Jane Hawking admits to trepidation at the prospect of being interviewed about her new book, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen. She is suffering from the heat but mostly from the fear of being painted, yet again, as what she calls ''a social pariah''.
''I'm a very forthright person,'' she says, in perfectly cadenced Cambridge English. ''But one of the things I have learned is that you can't write exactly as you think.''

The memoir is in fact Jane's second go at writing about her 25-year marriage to Stephen Hawking, the pre-eminent physicist, cosmologist and popular icon. The first book, Music To Move the Stars, published in 1999, attracted a lot of attention, much of it negative. Her candour was not appreciated.
Writing then about the repulsion she felt for his severely disabled body and the tyranny of living with a man she nicknamed ''the puppeteer'' and ''emperor'', upset Hawking's millions of fans and some of his associates.

Jane Hawking had been a bundle of nerves for years and it was perhaps too easy to dismiss her as uptight and controlling. Some who had witnessed their marital tiffs claimed she often harangued the wheelchair-bound scientist. And then there were the rumours about an extra-marital affair with a choirmaster, conducted right under Hawking's nose.
''There were a lot things said ... that were not true,'' she says, hesitantly.

Read the rest at Stuff.co.nz

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