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Little Wilson and Big God (Vintage Classics) [Paperback]

Anthony Burgess
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Oct 2002 Vintage Classics
These are Anthony Burgess's candid confessions: he was seduced at the age of nine by an older woman; whilst serving in Gibraltar in World War II he was thrown into jail on VE Day for calling Franco names; he once taught a group of Nazi socialites that the English equivalent of 'heil' was 'sod' and had them crying 'Sod Hitler'. Little Wilson and Big God moves from Moss Side to Malaya recalling Burgess's time as an education officer in the tropics, his tempestuous first marriage, his struggles with Catholicism and the beginning of his prolific writing life. Wise, self-deprecating and bristling with incident, this is a first-class memoir.

Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (3 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099437058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099437055
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 747,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anthony Burgess (25th February 1917-22nd November 1993) was one of the UK's leading academics and most respected literary figures. A prolific author, during his writing career Burgess found success as a novelist, critic, composer, playwright, screenwriter, travel writer, essayist, poet and librettist, as well as working as a translator, broadcaster, linguist and educationalist. His fiction includes Nothing Like the Sun, a recreation of Shakespeare's love-life, but he is perhaps most famous for the complex and controversial novel A Clockwork Orange, exploring the nature of evil. Born in Manchester, he spent time living in Southeast Asia, the USA and Mediterranean Europe as well as in England, until his death in 1993.

Product Description


"Packed, provocative and masterly" (Sebastian Faulks)

"Like the best of Burgess' novels, the book has terrific pace and vivacity... It is the story of a sort of Unlucky Jim" (LA Times)

Book Description

A high spirited candid book of confessions from the twentieth century literary giant Anthony Burgess

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary autobiography 27 Jan 2014
By nigeyb
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Prior to reading this, the only other book I'd read by Anthony Burgess was "A Clockwork Orange: Restored Edition (Penguin Modern Classics)".

I was inspired to read this book, having come across a short extract, photocopied and framed on the wall of The Wheatsheaf pub in Rathbone Place, London. Anthony Burgess was once a customer and he was describing the era in the 1940s when both he and Julian Maclaren-Ross were regulars. As a great admirer of Julian Maclaren-Ross, it was a desire to read this particular section (probably only six or seven pages in total) that prompted me to read it. I should add that Burgess was gratifyingly complimentary about the work of Maclaren-Ross and brings that era beautifully to life.

"Little Wilson and Big God" is only the first part of a two part biography and covers the 42 years from Burgess's birth, in 1917, to 1959, when his time as teacher and education officer in Malaya and Brunei came to an end and he decided to devote himself to writing full time (believing he only had a year to live).

Burgess was clearly very bright and something of a polymath. He taught himself languages and wrote classical music in addition to gaining scholarships and doing well at school. Despite this he was also something of a slacker as a young man, drifting through the war, and then into teaching in Malaya and Brunei. He and his wife had an open relationship from the off, and he appears to be very honest about his conduct which was frequently drunken and idiosyncratic. He has a trove of great memories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Wilson and Little God 9 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I generally despise autobiography as being self-indulgent, but this is far and away the most enjoyable and informative literary life I have ever read. An imperialist, socialist, conservative, bigoted, catholic contradiction of a man. Amazing read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The greatest autobiography 27 Dec 2012
I truly believe that this is the greatest English autobiography. Funny, tragic, bizarre, back to funny, informative, misleading, tragic again ... it has everything. The second volume is a disappointment, but this, the first is just wonderful.
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