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Always Unreliable: Memoirs [Kindle Edition]

Clive James
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In Unreliable Memoirs we meet the young Clive James – dressed in shorts and growing up in post-war Sydney. With Falling Towards England, we find Clive living in a Swiss Cottage B&B, where he practises the Twist, anticipates poetical masterpieces he’s yet to compose, and worries about his wardrobe. Finally, May Week Was In June sees Clive at Cambridge University, where he enthusiastically involves himself in college life (generally female lives) until May Week – not only in June but also a fortnight long – when he gets married.

The rest, of course, is history . . .

‘You had better not read the book on a train, unless you are unselfconscious about shrieking and snorting in public . . . Vivid, cumulative and full of surprises’ Observer

‘You can’t put it down . . . Not to be missed’ Sunday Times



Product Description

Book Description

In Unreliable Memoirs we meet the young Clive James – dressed in shorts and growing up in post-war Sydney. With Falling Towards England, we find Clive living in a Swiss Cottage B&B, where he practises the Twist, anticipates poetical masterpieces he’s yet to compose, and worries about his wardrobe. Finally, May Week Was In June sees Clive at Cambridge University, where he enthusiastically involves himself in college life (generally female lives) until May Week – not only in June but also a fortnight long – when he gets married. The rest, of course, is history . . . ‘You had better not read the book on a train, unless you are unselfconscious about shrieking and snorting in public . . . Vivid, cumulative and full of surprises’ Observer ‘You can’t put it down . . . Not to be missed’ Sunday Times

About the Author

Clive James is the author of more than twenty books. As well three volumes of autobiography, he has published verse and novels, collections of essays, literary criticism, television criticism and travel writing. As a television performer he has appeared regularly for both the BBC and ITV, most notably as writer and presenter of the Postcard series of travel documentaries. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4070 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (13 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ANJUERM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #139,985 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Clive James is the author of more than twenty books, including four previous volumes of autobiography (Unreliable Memoirs, Falling Towards England, May Week was in June and North Face of Soho), collections of literary and television criticism, essays, travel writing, verse and novels. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature. His most recent poetry collection, Angels Over Elsinore, was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Prize for Poetry.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely unreliable 31 Dec. 2004
Format:Paperback
Your perception of Clive James may be of him as a man who preceded Angus Deayton as the witty and erudite host of a range of travelogues and TV shows. If that is the extent of your knowledge of him, you're denying yourself a great pleasure.
This is not to say that his is a life worth knowing about. It isn't even his own life that you are presented with in Always Unreliable. It is, at best, a close proximation of the life he wishes to live. James frequently alludes to a dislocated sense and of wishing he were freer to choose his own course within that which he had chosen. He's written about an idealised version of the path he took.
These memoirs, though, are riddled with intelligence, eloquence, wit and a fine eye for the absurdities of the immigrant wanderer in a country which the displaced Australian finds strangely underdeveloped.
There is a strong sense of hurt and broken dreams in this - never more so when James is moved to describe the dreadful flooding in his beloved Florence. He does, in fact, spend a considerable length of time mourning: for his treatment of his mother, for her loss of her husband and James' father, for the few women in his life.
These volumes need time but you will frequently spot the turn of phrase for which James became famous. If your experience of reading these memoirs does not endear you to this singular man, you will surely grasp that here is one of the great Australian writers in rare form - self deprecation really suits him - and you will wish to read more of his startling, literary intellect.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommended 18 Oct. 2005
Format:Paperback
The first of these three volumes was included in the fifty most 'purely enjoyable' reads of the last century chosen by literary critic John Carey. On the basis of this I bought a copy of 'Always Unreliable' at the airport to read on the beach last year. I'm so glad I did; this book genuinely made my week in the sun very special and I more than agreed with Prof Carey's assessment. This is a wonderful book on many levels and something of a surprise to someone who's previous experience of Clive James was his TV shows. As you might expect its sharp and witty and in places hysterically funny, but its also very moving, very clever, amd very well written. Treat yourself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 2 Dec. 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is simply a combination of Clive James' autobiographical trilogy and seeing they are all worth buying then this is a fantastic bargain. One suggestion, start by reading the second book first, Falling Towards England, then read the first book and then the last one. The reason for this is that the second book is the best, just by a little, and its gets you into his style. If you are going on holiday or want a good long read that will eagerly beaver through.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HUGELY entertaining 18 Aug. 2008
By Chris Widgery VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I didn't grow up with Clive James. I was vaguely aware of him from the telly, but nothing more than that. And his life has not been that exciting - childhood in Australia before moving to England. Not, on the face of it, much cause for me to read this book (a collection of his assorted volumes of "unreliable memoirs")

But these memories are wonderful, and the telling even more so. Funny, touching, heartfelt and, more than anything, hugely readable and entertaining. Not a demanding book, but a very enjoyable one. Really, really good; highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ! 12 Jun. 2014
By TP
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wonderful writing. Re-reading these memoirs and even better the second time around. He has a wonderful command of the language.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mr James at his very best 22 Oct. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the funniest men in the World, this collection by the great man is not to be missed. This copy had seen better days, and the description of the condition was a little bit of fiction in its own right.
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