memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

My Book

These are the fragmented memoirs of an uncharacteristic Englishman who has, by various twists and turns of fate, ended up in an Old People’s Home in a small village in the north of Portugal.

The reader is taken from a cozy village in Northern France to the post-war Rhine Valley, from the leafy lanes of Hertfordshire to the stony uplands of South Yorkshire, from the burning sands of the Sahara to the atmospheric streets and bars of Lisbon and finally from a busy life in Porto to a reflective one overlooking the Atlantic ocean.

In 2003 I was diagnosed with (what was to become a series) of aggressive brain tumours. The theme of the book is memory; indeed its inception grew out of «memory-retrieval therapy».

Couched in at time darkly humorous, irreverent or ironic language, it is the exploration of my struggle to overcome my physical and psychological handicaps in the culturally alien environment that I find myself  in.

Finally there is another (implied) message which I wish to share in solidarity with my fellow tumour-victims: and that is

HOPE – don’t give up!

The Waiting Room is available on The Book Locker (click the image below): You can also see a FREE excerpt in pdf from this page.

image of Thomas Milner's book

Comments on: "My Book" (5)

  1. ana lima Guerreiro said:

    Olá Tom,
    Soube do seu livro através de um amigo que temos em comum.
    Fiquei de imediato entusiasmada para começar a lêr o seu “The waiting Room” . Afinal, o Tom trabalhou tantos anos lá na Escola , inicialmente como professor mais tarde como
    Director de Estudos na escola do Porto…depois veio a doença….as baixas médicas prelongadas …Injusto,Injusto ! pensei eu- comentamos nós…
    Fiquei emocionada ao lêr as suas notas , confesso que umas lagrimas rolaram, durante a leitura, fui confrontada com a Impermanência da Vida. A Vida que temos, com os nossos encontros e desencontros , sucessos e derrotas , saude e doença….
    Toca-me profundamente o modo como relata as suas perdas.. o que tinha “dado como garantido” em determinada fase da sua vida…
    O seu livro é certamente catartico para si sendo-o tambem de alguma forma , para o leitor mais atento pode crêr! Apercebemo-nos que afinal não controlamos assim tanto a nossa vida como pensamos.
    Por outro lado, há passagens no livro que considero hilariantes ( apesar da carga dramatica da situação ), dei por mim a rir até às lagrimas (acho que a gargalhada é o que há mais proximo do choro – os bébes mostram-nos isso) ,pois o Tom é um observador inato com um forte sentido de humor …às vezes rir é o melhor remedio.
    Por ultimo, penso que o seu “The Waiting Room” tambem vem chamar a n/ atenção para as Home que existem em Portugal. Apesar do Tom se encontrar numa Home “5 estrelas” (em comparação com a triste realidade do país nessa area) , há ainda muito trabalho a desenvolver , nomeadamente na formação e incentivos ao pessoal que empregam para tratar e cuidar dos utentes- em ultima analise , pode ser qualquer um de nós.
    Um abraço Grande!!



  2. Liz Langford said:

    Liz Langford said:”Moving, elegant, discrete and witty, this story of a French born Englishman who wanders in a rather leisurely way through various countries and occupations, before undergoing three brain operations, which require him to move to an old people’s home on the Portuguese coast is well written. The story is told with emotion leavened with humour. The many literary references sent me in search of the originals. This book deserves a wide readership.


  3. Jane Gordon said:

    ‘The Waiting Room’ is a patchwork of personal memories, literary jewels spanning the aeons, trenchant comments about the human condition and a liberal dose of acerbic wit. If you are privileged enough to know Tom, each and every page has you grinning and/or nodding your head – it’s almost as if he were in the same room, and waiting for your comments. Those (unfortunate) people who are not personally acquainted with the author will garner a keen understanding of the man through this book. and can begin to appreciate the myriad challenges of his current situation: he is too young, too English and too intelligent for an old people’s home in the north of Portugal. However, it is a measure of the man that he steadfastly refuses to submit to the tedious daily round but reaches out beyond the sterilised walls through his art and his writing and, in the process, expands our horizons too.


  4. I downloaded ‘The Waiting Room’ onto my beloved Kindle and read through the night, smiling, remembering, sometimes sad, sometime glad.
    How the world has changed, why is Tom in an Old People’s Home in Portugal, why am I sitting in Cape Town? Both British to the core but so far from the Ancient Hills and Dales.
    I LOVED your book Tom. We shared an almost monastic life back in the 60’s, would we possibly have guessed or foretold then, where we would eventually end up!
    Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts and musings [such a lovely, poetic word] you have given my mind yet another path to meander down in times of introspection.
    You ‘Rock’ Tom!


  5. Peter Singleton said:

    What a wonderful, poignant, thought provoking, sad and essentially funny read. I was at school with Tom and his brother Gam and have often regretted that I did not keep in touch. Well, with these memoirs, with his wit, insight and tremendous sense of humour, Tom has brought me up to date in an instant. You do not, however, need to know the man to appreciate the intelligence, strength of character and great courage that come through so strongly in this book. Thanks Tom for a great read.


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