fri 15/12/2017

memoir

Tina Brown: The Vanity Fair Diaries 1983-1992 review - portrait of an era of glitz and excess

Tina Brown’s first Christmas issue of Vanity Fair in 1984 had this to say about “the sulky, Elvisy” Donald Trump: “…he’s a brass act. And he owns his own football team. And he thinks he should negotiate arms control agreements with the Soviet Union...

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The Best of AA Gill review - posthumous words collected

Word wizard. Grammar bully. Sentence shark. AA Gill didn’t play fair by syntax: he pounced on it, surprising it into splendid shapes. And who cared when he wooed readers with anarchy and aplomb? Hardly uncontroversial, let alone inoffensive (he...

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Peggy Seeger: First Time Ever - A Memoir, review - a remarkable life

Seeger. A name to strike sparks with almost anyone, whether or not they have an interest in folk music, a catch-all term about which Peggy Seeger and her creative and life partner Ewan MacColl (they didn’t actually marry until a decade before his...

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Orhan Pamuk: Istanbul, Memories and the City review – a masterpiece upgraded

Along with Balzac’s Paris and Dickens’s London, Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul now ranks as one of the most illustrious author-trademarked cities in literary history. Yet, as Turkey’s Nobel laureate told me during a Southbank Centre interview last month, he...

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Claire Tomalin: A Life of My Own review - the biographer on herself

The title says it all, or at least quite a lot. Luminously intelligent, an exceptionally hard worker, bilingual in French, a gifted biographer, Claire Tomalin has been at the heart of the literati glitterati all her working life. Here she turns her...

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Extract: Peter Brook - Tip of the Tongue: Reflections on Language and Meaning

A long time ago when I was very young, a voice hidden deep within me whispered, "Don’t take anything for granted. Go and see for yourself." This little nagging murmur has led me to so many journeys, so many explorations, trying to live together...

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Sigrid Rausing: Mayhem review - you want it darker?

There is fictional Nordic noir. And then there is this, the real thing. Subject matter really couldn’t be much darker than that of Mayhem: A Memoir in which publisher, philanthropist and heiress Sigrid Rausing gives her perspective on her younger...

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Chris Patten: First Confession - A Sort of Memoir review - remembrances of government and power

It’s 25 years since Chris Patten lost his seat as Conservative MP for Bath. The 1992 election was called by an embattled prime minister, bruised by the Maastricht Treaty (remember “the bastards”?). Neil Kinnock had been expected to win, Labour ahead...

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Elif Batuman: The Idiot review - memories of student life and travels meander

University, anyone? Student days? If you were ever an undergraduate, who does not remember the simultaneous sense of dislocation and excitement, the feeling of the familiar combined with a heady awareness that we might fall off a cliff,...

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Evgeny Kissin: Memoirs and Reflections review - Russian education, European conviction, Jewish heritage

"Generally speaking," writes Evgeny Kissin in one of the many generous tributes to those whose artistry he most admires, "the mastery of [Carlo Maria] Giulini is exactly what is dearest of all to me in art: simplicity, depth and spirituality". The...

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Bella Bathurst: Sound, review - an illuminating book on deafness

Shelve with Oliver Sacks. In Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found Bella Bathurst has written a fascinating and illuminating book on deafness. Of what it’s like to lose your hearing – and in her case regain it after a 12 long years. On the world...

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Sunday Book: Henry Marsh - Admissions: A Life in Brain Surgery

Is it true that the blob of jelly resembling convoluted grey matter that we carry around in our skulls is really what we are? And how we are, and why? This is the profound question that is obliquely omnipresent in Henry Marsh’s second book on his...

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