On a warm spring afternoon, I retraced Sylvia Plath’s route from the zoo in
London’s Regent’s Park to her home in the North London suburb of Primrose
Hill. Passing playing children, mothers with prams, nannies with their charges,
young women hurrying home with bags of groceries, I felt like an intruder
stumbling into the perfect domestic theatre of Primrose Hill’s Chalcot Square.
The square is surrounded by late nineteenth-century terrace houses, cheerfully
painted in pastel colours. Number 3’s façade is an all-too-sweet lilac that dis-