In 1974, the homeless Miss Shepherd moved her broken down van into Alan Bennett's garden. Deeply eccentric and stubborn to her bones, Miss Shepherd was not an easy tenant. And Bennett, despite inviting her in the first place, was a reluctant landlord. And yet she lived there for fifteen years. This account of those years was first published in 1989 in the London Review of Books. The play premiered in 1999, directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Dame Maggie Smith, who reprise their roles in this new film adaptation. Shot on location at Bennett's house, Alex Jennings plays the author, alongside household names including Frances de la Tour, Jim Broadbent and Dominic Cooper.
Scott Moncrieff was an enigmatic man. A Catholic convert and a homosexual, a gregarious party-goer but deeply lonely, an interwar spy and public man of letters. He was the celebrated translator of Proust's A La Recherche du Temps Perdu. He was also a decorated First World War hero. Written by Scott Moncrieff's great-great-niece, and with exclusive access to the family archive, Chasing Lost Time is a fascinating portrait of a man living through an era of war and profound change, and who rendered in English the definitive modern novel.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Although categorised as Biography, the short stories presented here are crafted in the way of fiction - dark, sober tales that capture with brutal candidness the difficulties, oddities and horrors surrounding lives in war torn regions of the Middle East and Africa and the itinerant life of the foreign correspondent. Written by a Hungarian war correspondent, this is not straight reportage but rather they are the stories behind the sad headlines we read. Highly recommended for non-fiction and fiction readers seeking a broader perspective. Craig Kirchner
'I don't regret anything, really. I never wanted to live a sensible life ...I didn't want a sensible death either.'
War-torn Africa, a Middle East in crisis, and post-Soviet Eastern Europe form the backdrop to the stories told in The Devil Is a Black Dog - stories based on the extraordinary experiences of acclaimed photojournalist Sandor Jaszberenyi.
From Cairo to the Gaza Strip, from Benghazi to Budapest, his characters contemplate the meaning of home, love, family, and friendship in the face of brutality. Immersed in the societies he reports on and heedless in the face of war and revolution, Jaszberenyi observes mothers, martyrs, soldiers, and lovers who must confront the extremes of contemporary experience.
In spare, evocative prose, he combines fact and fiction to create a profoundly true portrait of the humanity behind the headlines.
The untold story of Winston Churchill's precarious finances - and the most original and surprising book about Churchill to emerge for many years. The popular image of Churchill - grandson of a duke, drinking champagne and smoking a cigar - conjures up a man of wealth and substance. The reality is that Britain's most celebrated 20th-century statesman lived for most of his life on a financial cliff-edge. Only fragments of information about his finances, or their impact on his public life, have previously emerged. With the help of unprecedented access to Churchill's private records, David Lough creates the first fully researched narrative of Churchill's private finances and business affairs. As he reveals the scale of Churchill's financial risk-taking, combined with an ability to talk or write himself out of the tightest of corners, the links between the private man and public figure become clear.
John le Carr is still at the top, more than half a century after The Spy Who Came in from the Cold became a worldwide bestseller. From his bleak childhood - the departure of his mother when he was five was followed by 'sixteen hugless years' in the dubious care of his father, a serial-seducer and con-man - through recruitment by both MI5 and MI6, to his emergence as the master of the espionage novel, le Carr has repeatedly quarried his life for his fiction. Millions of readers are hungry to know the truth about him. Written with exclusive access to le Carr himself, to his private archive and to many of the people closest to him, this is a major biography of one of the most important novelists alive today.
Until Laurence Halloran got to Australia in Governor Macquarie's time, there was nowhere for anyone to get more than rudimentary schooling. But Australia's educational leader in convict times was a flawed and fascinating product of the 18th century. Biographer Jan Worthington gives us the first book to present the whole, sordid story of the self-styled doctor of classical studies - who in England as a naval recruit was jailed for knifing a fellow sailor. Who had to flee South Africa when he enraged colonial authorities. Who trailed around wives, mistresses and 22 children in a career on four continents. Who impersonated a graduate and a clergyman, and was transported to N.S.W. after authorities found conterfeit print blocks in his flat. With a gift of alienating people who mattered, Halloran had to keep on the move, so his life story is a stranger-than-fiction tour through the high society and low life of a bygone world: capital cities, battles, English villages, churches, prisons, rising colonies, schools and ships. Thoroughly researched and richly illustrated.
The memoir of popular BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live presenter and former member of the Communards, the Reverend Richard Coles. This is the Reverend Richard Coles's warm, witty and wise memoir in which he divulges with searing honesty and intimacy his pilgrimage from a rock-and-roll life of sex and drugs in the Communards to one devoted to God and Christianity. The result is one of the most unusual and readable life stories of recent times, and has the power to shock as well as to console.
Steve Coogan was born and raised in Manchester in the 1960s, the fourth of six children. From an early age he entertained his family with impressions and was often told he should 'be on the telly'. Failing to get into any of the London-based drama schools, he accepted a place at Manchester Polytechnic School of Theatre and before graduating had been given his first break as a voice artist on the satirical puppet show Spitting Image.
The late eighties and early nineties saw Coogan developing characters he could perform on the comedy circuit, from Ernest Moss to Paul Calf, and in 1992 he won a Perrier award with John Thomson. It was around the same time, while working with Armando Iannucci and Patrick Marber on On The Hour and The Day Today, that Alan Partridge emerged, almost fully formed. Coogan, once a tabloid fixture, is now a respected film actor, writer and producer. He runs his own production company, Baby Cow, has a raft of films to his name (from 24 Hour Party People to Alpha Papa, the critically-acclaimed Partridge film), six Baftas and seven Comedy Awards.
He has found huge success in recent years with both The Trip and Philomena, the latter bringing him two Oscar nominations, for producing and co-writing. In Easily Distracted he lifts the lid on the real Steve Coogan, writing with distinctive humour and an unexpected candour about a noisy childhood surrounded by foster kids, his attention-seeking teenage years and his emergence as a household name with the birth of Alan Partridge.
Dalton Trumbo was the central figure of the infamous 'Hollywood Ten,' the screenwriters who, during the McCarthy era, were charged by the House Committee on Un-American Activities for their associations with the Communist Party. Due to their refusal to cooperate during the investigation, Trumbo and his fellow screenwriters were declared in contempt of Congress and were ultimately blacklisted from Hollywood and some were even jailed.
Although Trumbo was one of several hundred writers, directors, producers, and actors who were deprived of the opportunity to work in the motion picture industry from 1947 to 1960, he won an Oscar under the pseudonym Robert Rich for The Brave One in 1956, and he was the first to see his name on the big screen again in 1960 with Exodus, one of the year's biggest movies. All his life Trumbo was a radical of the homegrown, independent variety.
From his early days in Colorado, where his grandfather was a county sheriff, to his time in Los Angeles, where he organized a bakery strike and was even a bootlegger, to his time as an author when he wrote the powerful pacifist novel Johnny Got His Gun, to his heyday as a top-paid (and frequently broke) Hollywood screenwriter-where his credits include Roman Holiday, Spartacus, Papillon, Lonely Are the Brave, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, The Brave One, and Kitty Foyle-his life rivaled anything he had created.
Written with Dalton Trumbo's full cooperation, at a moment when he himself did not know how much time he had left, Trumbo is a candid tale of a colorful figure who was at the epicenter of a tumultuous period in recent American history.
Since the publication of the Cambridge edition of The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, the numerous letters in the nine volumes, many of them published for the first time and many more taken from hard-to-find books and journals, have had a profound influence on writing about Conrad. This selection makes the highlights available in one volume. The letters have been re-edited with shorter footnotes and an emphasis on the latest scholarship. Letters originally written in French or Polish appear only in revised English translations. Among the topics that stand out are Conrad's memories of growing up in Poland and Ukraine, his ideas about fiction, often expressed in precise but sympathetic comments on the work of his friends, the anxieties of war and revolution, his struggle to keep his integrity as a writer, and his lives as a sailor and a family man.
An intimate narrative history of porcelain, structured around five journeys through landscapes where porcelain was dreamed about, fired, refined, collected, and coveted.Extraordinary new nonfiction, a gripping blend of history and memoir, by the author of the award-winning and bestselling international sensation, The Hare with the Amber Eyes.
In The White Road, bestselling author and artist Edmund de Waal gives us an intimate narrative history of his lifelong obsession with porcelain, or white gold. A potter who has been working with porcelain for more than forty years, de Waal describes how he set out on five journeys to places where porcelain was dreamed about, refined, collected and coveted-and that would help him understand the clay's mysterious allure. From his studio in London, he starts by travelling to three white hills -sites in China, Germany and England that are key to porcelain's creation. But his search eventually takes him around the globe and reveals more than a history of cups and figurines; rather, he is forced to confront some of the darkest moments of twentieth-century history.
Part memoir, part history, part detective story, The White Road chronicles a global obsession with alchemy, art, wealth, craft, and purity. In a sweeping yet intimate style that recalls The Hare with the Amber Eyes, de Waal gives us a singular understanding of the spectrum of porcelain and the mapping of desire.
This is the hilarious, original, poignant, and extremely frank collection of personal essays from Lena Dunham - the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO's GIRLS. Lena Dunham is one of the most original young talents writing today. Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one's way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself to a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told. Exuberant, moving and keenly observed, Not That Kind of Girl is a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the struggle that is growing up.
Completed before he died, thirty years ago, this is the newly discovered autobiography of one of the most influential comedians of recent times, Marty Feldman.
Marty was a professional writer, and considered himself a writer first, and an actor second. Feldman created a number of immensely successful and influential shows such as Marty, The Frost Report and sketches for Monty Python. He was one of the most essential creative forces in British comedy embodied also by his close friends and creative partners from Beyond the Fringe (especially Peter Cook and Dudley Moore) and Monty Python (especially John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle).
Marty played the fool, often very happily and with tremendous talent and volcanic, anarchic energy, for his entire life. His face is what many people most immediately remember. It was a face that David Frost, one of his bosses, characterised as 'too grotesque' for television - see what Feldman has to say about Frost, and Francis Bacon, and John Lennon... Marty Feldman finished, and set aside eYE Marty soon before travelling to Mexico to shoot his final film. He did not know that he would die there, although he certainly felt he might die soon, and was haunted by the notion.
The book is exactly as Feldman wrote it, his great friend Mark Flanagan, had it transcribed, with even the photos inserted where Feldman had noted where they should go.
Hilarious, deeply charming, aphoristic, ironic, charged throughout with lust for life and filled with scenes of great vanished eras and and portraits of other performers and friends, eYE Marty is the amazing discovery of the story of a man who was at the heart of the British comedy revolution.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti-legendary poet and best-selling author-collects here his travel journals. Traversing the latter half of the twentieth century to the present, Writing Across the Landscape positions Ferlinghetti as a major voice whose personal writings are now added to the fabric of twentieth-century literary history. The volume gives glimpses of figures like William Burroughs in London, Ezra Pound in Italy and Fidel Castro at the dawn of the Revolution. Readers will journey to Mexico, Morocco, Paris and Rome, as well as to post-Stalinist Russia on a harrowing journey on the Trans-Siberian Express. Embedded with new poems and Ferlinghetti's pyrotechnic prose, Writing Across the Landscape evokes the people, places and political movements that have shaped our time.
A. A. Gill's memoir begins in the dark of a dormitory with six strangers. He is an alcoholic, dying in the last-chance saloon - driven to dry out, not out of a desire to change but mainly through weariness. He tells the truth - as far as he can remember it - about drinking and about what it is like to be drunk. Pour Me is about the black-outs, the collapse, the despair: 'Pockets were a constant source of surprise - a lamb chop, a votive candle, earrings, notes written on paper and ripped from books,' and even, once, a pigeon. 'Morning pockets,' he says, 'were like tiny crime scenes.' He recalls the lost days, lost friends, failed marriages... But there was also 'an optimum inebriation, a time when it was all golden, when the drink and the pleasure made sense and were brilliant'. Sobriety regained, there are painterly descriptions of people and places, unforgettable musings about childhood and family, art and religion, friendships and fatherhood; and, most movingly, the connections between his cooking, dyslexia and his missing brother. Full of raw and unvarnished truths, exquisitely written throughout, Pour Me is about lost time and self-discovery. Lacerating, unflinching, uplifting, it is a classic about drunken abandon.
This Hemingway memoir completes A.E. Hotchner's international blockbuster Papa Hemingway, originally published fifty years ago. Hemingway in Love includes material previously withheld from publication, illustrated by photographs drawn from Hotchner's own collection.
As a friend and confidante, Hotchner recorded his conversations with Hemingway and kept assiduous notes in his journal over the course of their friendship during the last fifteen years of Hemingway's life. Here he is able to recreate extended monologues and even conversations virtually verbatim, as Hemingway reminisces about his love life and his torment over choosing between his first wife, Hadley, and Pauline, who he would eventually go on to marry.
Along the way we also encounter Fitzgerald, Joyce, Picasso, Stein, the Murphys, Josephine Baker, the gang who inspired The Sun Also Rises, and others.
In Hemingway in Love, Hotchner artfully organizes these memories into an elegantly constructed, rueful, and heart-breaking love story.
Born in 1970s North Korea, Lucia Jang grew up in a typical household-her parents worked in the factories and the family scraped by on rationed rice and a small garden. Nightly, she bowed to her photo of Kim Il-Sung. But it was the beginning of a chaotic period with a decade-long famine resulting in more than a million deaths. In this harsh time, Jang married an abusive man who sold their baby. She left him and went home to help her family by illegally crossing the river to China to trade goods. She was caught and imprisoned twice. After giving birth to a second child, which the government ordered to be killed, she escaped with him, fleeing under gunfire across the Chinese border. This stunning demonstration of love and courage reflects the range of experiences many North Korean women have endured.
A revealing, no-holds-barred portrait of the legendary Eileen Ford - the entrepreneur who transformed the business of modeling and helped invent the celebrity supermodel.
Working with her husband, Jerry, Eileen Ford created the twentieth century's largest and most successful modeling agency, representing some of the fashion world's most famous names - Suzy Parker, Carmen Dell'Orefice, Lauren Hutton, Rene Russo, Christie Brinkley, Jerry Hall, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell. Her relentless ambition turned the business of modeling into one of the most glamorous and desired professions, helping to convert her stable of beautiful faces into millionaire superstars.
Model Woman chronicles the Ford Modeling Agency's meteoric rise to the top of the fashion and beauty business, and paints a vibrant portrait of the uncompromising woman at its helm in all her glittering, tyrannical brilliance. Outspoken and controversial, Ford was never afraid to offend in defense of her stringent standards. When she chose, she could deliver hauteur in the grand tradition of fashion's battle-axes, from Coco Chanel to Diana Vreeland - just ask John Casablancas or Janice Dickinson. But she was also a shrewd businesswoman with a keen eye for talent and a passion for serving her clients.
Drawing on more than four years of intensive interviews with Ford and her intimates, associates, and rivals, as well as exclusive access to agency documents and memorabilia, Robert Lacey weaves an unforgettable tale of a determined entrepreneur and the empire she built - a story of beauty, ambition, business, and popular culture as powerful and complex as the woman at its center.
At twenty-five, Dan left his 'spoiled white asshole' life in Los Angeles to look after his dying parents in Salt Lake City, Utah. His mother, who had already been battling cancer on and off for close to 15 years, had taken a turn for the worse. His father, a devoted marathon runner and adored parent, had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease which was quickly eroding his body. Dan's four siblings were already home, caring for their parents and resenting Dan for not doing the same. Home is Burning
tells the story of Dan's year at home in Salt Lake City, as he reunites with his eclectic family -the only non-Mormon family of seven in the entire town- all of them trying their best to be there for the father who had always been there for them.
Here, for the first time, is Iris Murdoch's life in her own words, from her schoolgirl days to her last years. The letters show a great mind at work - we see the young Murdoch struggling with philosophical issues and witness her anguish when a novel won't come together. As well as her sharp sense of humour and irreverence, they also reveal her personal life, the subject of much speculation, in all its complexity: her emotional hunger and her tendency to live on the edge of what was socially acceptable. We see how this fed into her novels' plots and characters, despite her claims that her fiction was not drawn from reality. These letters bring us closer than ever before to Iris Murdoch as a person. They make for an extraordinary and intimate reading experience: she is wonderful company.
'To risk my life had to mean something. Otherwise what was it all for?' Gulwali Passarlay was sent away from Afghanistan at the age of twelve, after his father was killed in a gun battle with the US army for hiding Taliban fighters. Smuggled into Iran, Gulwali began a twelve month odyssey across Europe, spending time in prisons, suffering hunger, cruelty, brutality, nearly drowning in a tiny boat on the Mediterranean. Somehow he survived, and made it to Britain, no longer an innocent child but still a boy of twelve. Here in Britain he was fostered, sent to a good school, won a place at a top university, and was chosen to carry the Olympic torch in 2012. He wants to tell his story - to bring to life the plight of the thousands of men, women and children who risk their lives to leave behind the troubles of their homelands. Many die along the way, some are sent back to face imprisonment and possible death, some survive and make it here, to a country which offers them the chance of a life of freedom and opportunity. One boy's story is the central story of our times, and this memoir celebrates the triumph of courage and determination over adversity.
The relationship between Australia and the royal family is complex and fascinating. We are drawn to the pure magic of palaces, celebrity romance and high-fashion, but it goes deeper. This isn't just any royal family, its Australia's royal family, who, when they are on our soil, consider themselves Australian, with a genuine and heartfelt connection to the people of Australia. Juliet Rieden is the long-time deputy editor of the <i>Australian Women's Weekly</i> and the magazine's royal correspondent. In this lavishly produced, fully illustrated and meticulously researched book, Juliet tells the story of over 100 years of royal visits to Australia, and explores the myriad ties and deep connections that keep the Monarchy firmly entrenched as our Head of State and Australian support for the continuation of the Monarchy at 51 per cent, the highest in 35 years.
Bestselling historian Andrew Roberts's much-admired reappraisal of one of the most influential - and controversial - British politicians of the 1930s.
A fox-hunting Anglo-Catholic aristocrat, nicknamed 'The Holy Fox' by Churchill for his political guile, Halifax was one of the most prominent Tory politicians of the interwar period. As Viceroy of India, he struck a deal with Gandhi that ended the Civil Disobedience campaign. His meeting with Hitler in 1937 was a milestone in appeasement, yet just days before the infamous Munich agreement, he demanded 'the destruction of Nazism'. By May 1940, for many it was Halifax, not Churchill, who was the natural choice for Britain's war leader.
Andrew Roberts' acclaimed biography draws on private documents to offer a nuanced reappraisal of an enigmatic, influential and much-maligned politician.
Jacqueline Rose's new book begins with three remarkable women: revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg; German-Jewish painter Charlotte Salomon, persecuted by family tragedy and Nazism; film icon and consummate performer Marilyn Monroe. Together these women have a shared story to tell, as they blaze a trail across some of the most dramatic events of the last century - revolution, totalitarianism, the American dream.
Enraged by injustice, they are each in touch with what is most painful about being human, bound together by their willingness to bring the unspeakable to light. Taking the argument into the present are today's women, courageous individuals involved in some of the cruellest realities of our times. Grappling with the reality of honour killing - notably through the stories of Shafilea Ahmed, Fadime Sahindal and Heshu Yones - Rose argues that the work of feminism is far from done. In the final three chapters, she celebrates the work of three brilliant contemporary artists - Esther Shalev-Gerz, Yael Bartana and Therese Oulton - whose work grows out of an unflinching engagement with all that is darkest in the modern world.
Women in Dark Times shows us how these visionary women offer a new template for feminism. Taking their stand against the iniquities of our times, they tread a path between public and private pain, confronting us with what we need most urgently, but also often, cannot bear to see.
From the inimitable veteran New Yorker journalist Lillian Ross-a stunning collection of Ross's iconic New Yorker pieces. A staff writer for The New Yorker since 1945, Lillian Ross is one of the few journalists who worked for both the magazine's founding editor, Harold Ross, and its current editor, David Remnick.
Ross invented the entertainment profile. She was the first person to write journalism in scenes as novelists do, and her profiles are full of humor and details that bring her subjects alive on the page. Her style has been studied and imitated by numerous writers. But there is only one Lillian Ross: spirited, funny, factual, and unforgettable. Reporting Always collects a wide range of Lillian Ross's New Yorker articles and Talk of the Town pieces spanning sixty years, bringing readers into Robin Williams's living room; Harry Winston's office; the afterschool hangouts of Manhattan private-school children; the hotel rooms of Ernest Hemingway, John Huston, and Charlie Chaplin; onto the tennis court with John McEnroe; and into the lives of many other famous and not-so-famous characters.
Ross's portraits are filled with rich details that reveal her subjects in amusing and perceptive ways. A foreword by David Remnick discusses Ross's trademark style and her important place in the history of The New Yorker.
From journalist, activist, and international icon Gloria Steinem comes her first book in twenty years, an all-new memoir of a lifetime of listening and learning from people, traveling America and the world. Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. Every fall, her father would pack the family into the car and they would drive across the country, in search of their next adventure. The seeds were planted: Steinem would spend much of her life on the road, as a journalist, organizer, activist, and speaker. In vivid stories that span an entire career, Steinem writes about her time on the campaign trail, from Bobby Kennedy to Hillary Clinton; her early exposure to social activism in India; organizing ground-up movements in America; the taxi drivers who were 'vectors of modern myths' and the airline stewardesses who embraced feminism; and the infinite contrasts, the 'surrealism in everyday life' that Steinem encountered as she traveled back and forth across the country. With the unique perspective of one of the greatest feminist icons of the 20th and 21st centuries, here is an inspiring, profound, enlightening memoir of one woman's life-long journey.
Before he became a household name in America as perhaps our greatest hard-boiled crime writer, before his attachment to Lillian Hellman and blacklisting during the McCarthy era, and his subsequent downward spiral, Dashiell Hammett led a life of action.
Born in 1894 into a poor Maryland family, Hammett left school at fourteen and held several jobs before joining the Pinkerton National Detective Agency as an operative in 1915 and, with time off in 1918 to serve at the end of World War I, he remained with the agency until 1922, participating alike in the banal and dramatic action of an operative. The tuberculosis he contracted during the war forced him to leave the Pinkertons - but it may well have prompted one of America's most acclaimed writing careers. While Hammett's life on center stage has been well-documented, the question of how he got there has not. That largely overlooked phase is the subject of Nathan Ward's enthralling The Lost Detective.
Hammett's childhood, his life in San Francisco, and especially his experience as a detective deeply informed his writing and his characters, from the nameless Continental Op, hero of his stories and early novels, to Sam Spade and Nick Charles. The success of his many stories in the pulp magazine Black Mask following his departure from the Pinkertons led him to novels; he would write five between 1929 and 1934, two of them (The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man) now American classics. Though he inspired generations of writers, from Chandler to Connelly and all in between, after The Thin Man he never finished another book, a painful silence for his devoted readers; and his popular image has long been shaped by the remembrance of Hellman, who knew him after his literary reputation had been made.
Based on original research across the country, The Lost Detective is the first book to illuminate Hammett's transformation from real detective to great American detective writer, throwing brilliant new light on one of America's most celebrated and remembered novelists and his world.