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First Childhood Hardcover – 10 Jun 1999

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 233 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; 1st edition (10 Jun. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297643428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297643425
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 255,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The memoirs of a quintessential eccentric, outrageously funny and beautifully written --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

The memoirs of a quintessential English eccentric
FIRST CHILDHOOD is the first volume of Lord Berner's perfectly formed, hilarious, and beautifully written memoirs. Berners was a great English eccentric, a composer, novelist, painter and conspicuous aesthete whose friends included Gerturde Stein, Diaghilev and Sacherverell Sitwell. The character of Lord Merlin in Nancy Mitford's THE PURSUIT OF LOVE of Love is based on Lord Berners, who used to dip his pigeons into basins of magenta, green and ultramarine so that when released they resembled, Mitford wrote, 'a cloud of confetti in the sky'. These memoirs are classics of their kind. The second volume of Lord Berners' memoirs, A DISTANT PROSPECT, will be published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in August 1999.

Reviews

'Autobiography of the very finest quality. Having enjoyed in the course of reading it the loudest and longest laughs I have enjoyed in the last two years I am quite incapable of making any critical observations. I found the book enchanting from cover to cover.' Compton Mackenzie, Daily Mail

'FIRST CHILDHOOD and A DISTANT PROPSECT are quietly remarkable volumes of autobiography. Both books are alive with unforgotten terrors and unforgiven indignities.' Alan Hollinghurst, TLS

'Not only witty and amusing, but contains things to ponder over in plenty behind the mere youthful years. The portraits of his friends are complete portraits, skectched brilliantly in a few strokes.' Tatler

'What a great work! FIRST CHILDHOOD may well be his masterpiece: funny, rueful, self-deprecating and aswarm with larger-than-life grotesuqes, it is in the same league as Gwen Raverat's Period Piece or James Lees-Milne's Another Self.' Jeremy Lewis

'A minor masterpiece' Patrick Taylor-Martin, Literary Review

'Seldom can anyone have written a whole book about the first nine years of his life! It is so well done, so evocative of the joys and miseries of early childhood... He grew up to be the most distinguished of amateur painters and musicians, but probably he will be best remembered for his autobiographies. I look forward to the next.' Nigel Nicolson

'A wonderful read' Derek Jacobi


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Brooks on 18 Nov. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I had never heard of Lord Berners when I read this book, but that didn't impede my enjoyment of it. It is autobiographical, but you will very much doubt it's truth as the hilarious tales, such as how he came to throw his mother's spaniel out of the window, are so funny you suspect he's made it all up. I highly recommend it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Triumph of Berners 4 Aug. 2003
By Ross Amico - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I came to Berners' writings by way of his music. "The Triumph of Neptune," a Beecham staple, has long been a favorite of mine, and the ongoing Berners series on the Marco Polo label has been a delight.
Above all else, what one seems to encounter when reading ABOUT Berners are copious anecdotes of his alleged "eccentricity." Having completed both volumes of this delicious memoir, I am tempted to chalk it all up rather to a keenly-developed wit and an extremely cultivated sense of the ridiculous. In fact, Berners in his own words comes across as exceptionally sane, a gifted observer. Time and again, he hits upon just the right detail to establish a knowing sympathy with his reader, skewering the hypocrisies of relatives and professors alike, and deftly conveying all the distant terrors of childhood. At the same time, he casts an almost Proustian glow over his recollections, so that there are moments of aching nostalgia, as we have all experienced at one time or another.
Those curious about his later musical triumphs may find themselves disappointed - there are sporadic anecdotes about his first encounters with the music of Chopin and Wagner, but nothing of those he rubbed shoulders with in his maturity - but "disappointment" is soon compensated for by Berners' wit. The man certainly did know how to craft a sentence, and his prose is studded with erudite (although not too much so) allusions, always to humorous effect. If the book is to be criticized, it is because it is TOO SHORT. I am delighted to find there is actual a third volume, picking up the thread of the second, about his adventures in France. I will be ordering this very soon.
An extremely entertaining memoir. You'll probably be hungering for more, so be sure and move on to "A Distant Prospect."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An overlooked treasure! 3 Aug. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Lord Berners remembers childhood more accurately than most memoirists. He doesn't romanticize nor does he dwell on the darker days. He looks back with wry amusement at himself (an only child of a thoughtful and dreamy nature) and his family (relics of another era). Written with a deft light touch and adult insight into the ways of childhood. Don't miss this -- you'll laugh out loud!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A lost gem that MUST be read! 26 Jun. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This much talked about but rarely read character from the recent past is proved to be a real artist and talented writer in this lovely book. I dare you not to be enchanted by this wonderfully written and charming tale of a comfortable childhood. It is arch and queeny at times, but so utterly readable that it is sure to be consumed at a single sitting. For anyone with class!
Childhood isn't childish! 3 Aug. 2005
By El - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A nice, slow read about the nice English child-Lord Berners.Although jacket blurbs promise to make the reader laugh,laugh,laugh..I only smiled!
How evocative and enchanting! 2 Feb. 2015
By Ariel Marguin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even better than Distant Prospect- so many childhood feelings and experiences many people could relate to. I certainly could.
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