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Are You Talking to Me?: A Life Through the Movies Hardcover – 19 May 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (19 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007139306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007139309
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 3 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,122,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Are You Talking to Me? is a deliciously thoughtful piece of autobiography. Where, in The Falling Angels, journalist and critic John Walsh talked about how his life has been affected by his Irish parents' melancholy Catholicism, here he talks about how movies gave his adolescent and young adult self a vocabulary with which to create an adult identity of his own.

The Sound Of Music, for example, not usually high on any cineaste's list, taught Walsh a sense of sexual strategy; Cabaret was for him, as for so many of his generation, a touchstone of flirtation with decadence and sexual variety. In perhaps the most serious of these essays, he talks about how Nicholas Roeg's Don't Look Now gave him a sense of the impossibility of knowing one's own fate, a sense of the infinite precariousness of life, which has served him well as husband and father.

This is a likable piece of self-revelation because Walsh has forgotten no embarrassment of his past and has a real sense of how every gaffe or misstep helped put him on the path to adulthood, along with every enthusiasm for film and music and book. His honesty about himself makes him a reliable commentator on the films that helped him become that person.--Roz Kaveney

Review

Praise for Falling Angels:

‘A book to be relished’ – William Trevor

‘The reader should be warned that this is a book that makes you laugh out loud in public. A magnificent entertainment.’ The Independent

‘A warm, seamlessly well-written memoir… the prose is fluent, its craftmanship meticulous. The dialogue is dead-on: the hungry father could “eat a reverend mother’s arse through a cane chair”… Walsh’s affection for his subject matter is infectious.’ Lionel Shriver, Guardian

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Not so much pleased by the result as pleased by the doing of it (to bowdlerise Dr Johnson) is my reaction to this story of a life according to the impact of film. Walsh saw, in Mutiny on the Bounty, his first inkling that words had a power against wrongdoers and in The Sound of Music what "sixteen going on seventeen" was really saying about sex. Enthralled by Cabaret and Werner Herzog's The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Walsh comes to a climax on Don't Look Now which he, rather portentously, sees as linked to his own life, through a series of accidents to himself and his baby daughter.

Alternately tedious and deeply intriguing, this is a strange mulligatawny of a book. One could have done with more about film and less about Walsh's adolescent fantasies, but nevertheless one is pleased to find someone who has considered films central to their life and given the medium the weight it undoubtedly deserves. On the whole, an enjoyable read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Jun. 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a highly entertaining stroll through the movies of the 1960's and how they influenced the author growing up. Had me laughing out loud at times, but poignant too. He describes to a tee his hilarious childish rebellion, when, on New Years Eve, he accidentally sets fire to the family home with a cap gun, after watching a John Wayne Western. He brilliantly evokes the terror of childhood fears. You follow his development through the films, from his lucky first kiss to parenthood. His tone is honest and self (depreciating). After reading this book I wanted to go and watch all the films he discusses.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A delightful autobiogrpaphy of childhood in SW London in the 70s seen through the films of that period eg Cabaret, Sound of Music, Don't Look Now. Beautifully written, tender and funny. I had a paperback and upgraded to hardback because I knew I would re-read it. Also bought a copy for my sister who was charmed by it.
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