Shop now Learn more Shop now Up to 50% off Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Halloween Pets Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Voyage Listen in Prime Learn more Shop now
My Life in Pieces: An Alternative Autobiography and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Buy Used
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Expedited shipping available on this book. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

My Life in Pieces Paperback – 1 Sep 2011

22 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
£2.70 £0.01

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Save £20 on with the aqua Classic card. Get an initial credit line of £250-£1,200 and build your credit rating. Representative 32.9% APR (variable). Subject to term and conditions. Learn more.

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Nick Hern Books; Reprint edition (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848421710
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848421714
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 670,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description


Essential...Callow has a gift for transforming personal experience into blazingly intelligent, objective, critical appreciation. --Observer

Callow's not simply a terrific actor who happens to write. You could as well call him a terrific writer who happens to act. --The Times

Full of love and delight...A person of gargantuan capacity, as actor, director, biographer, scholar, solo performer, raconteur and confessional writer. --Diana Quick in the Guardian on My Life in Pieces

His detailed and perceptive portraits of figures as various and extraordinary as Charlie Chaplin, Charles Laughton, Peter Brook, Rudolf Nureyev, Peter Ustinov, Tommy Cooper and John Gielgud are utterly irresistible. When it comes to people he admires, whom he's befriended through working with them - Alan Bennett, Peter Shaffer, David Hare, Michael Gambon - you realise he also possesses a gift for transforming personal experience into blazingly intelligent, objective, critical appreciation...his brilliant analysis of naturalism in acting, and his scornful rejection of the "luvvie" label, are alone worth the price of this essential, agreeably exhausting tome. --Guardian

About the Author

SIMON CALLOW is best known for his performances in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Shakespeare in Love, as well as his many starring roles in the West End, most recently in Waiting for Godot with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. He is the best-selling author of Being An Actor (Penguin), Love is Where it Falls (NHB) and two biographies - of Charles Laughton and Orson Welles.

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ripple TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Simon Callow is not only an outstanding stage actor (yes, he's done movies too, but it's on the stage where his love is and where his talent really shines), but over the years he has become an accomplished writer of biographies, book reviewer, obituary writer and autobiographer. My Life in Pieces is a sort of autobiography, although not a conventional one. He's already written those in Being an Actor and Shooting the Actor. This is a collection of some of his newspaper and magazine pieces (and the odd book intro) loosely collated with a coherent narrative taking us from the idea of acting, to work and beyond. It's not chronological - but rather like an avuncular eccentric he tells a loose story and as a person comes up, he finds something he has written about them elsewhere. Sadly rather too many of these are obituaries.

Callow is a natural hero-worshipper and his affection for his craft and its practitioners make this an upbeat and entertaining collection. True, he's helped by having known some of the true greats - Olivier, Gielgud, Richardson, Guinness, Simon Grey, Redgrave, etc - but he's equally entertaining and thoughtful on styles of acting and writers. Anyone with even a passing interest in the theatre could hardly fail to be enriched by this great collection.

You can also see the development of his writing style. Some of his earlier pieces (as I've said they are not chronological but he says if it's an early article) are less well written, but with remarkable speed, he became a gifted and thoughtful writer on the theatre.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By GlynLuke TOP 100 REVIEWER on 24 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover
It is most odd, but we in England are bad at honouring our artists, in particular those who have the temerity to be multi-taskers, those renaissance men & women who act, direct, write - and often still more. Kenneth Branagh has come in for much cynical disapproval from lesser talents (critics, mainly) as has Antony Sher and, when he was alive, even the brilliant Peter Ustinov - whose multi-faceted genius is given a few pages of loving endorsement here. Or we allow a few short years of uncriticised success, then: the backlash! It happens in the pop music business as well as in other branches of the arts. It is to our shame. (The lazily dismissive modern synonym for actor - `luvvie` - is symptomatic of our two-faced attitude to thesps in the UK.)
I have been privileged this year to have had the opportunity to read two masters of English prose at their peak, in two not so very different books, either of which could be said to be its author`s magnum opus. One is Clive James`s great `summing-up` of a life`s thought and reading, Cultural Amnesia (which I`d recommend to anyone with a pulse and a few functioning brain cells) and the other is this unputdownable `alternative autobiography` of the great and good Simon Callow.
I first was aware of this often undervalued actor just before he made his name (as Mozart in the National`s Amadeus), in Brecht`s Arturo Ui. I realised then that we had a vastly dynamic, full-blooded, resourceful actor-entertainer in our midst. (Even then, 30 years ago, he was being touted as a future KBE, and I fully expect him to join the ranks of theatrical knights before long, deserving of that honour a little more than not a few recent recipients.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. R. Good VINE VOICE on 16 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Having covered his career before,(Being an Actor & Shooting the Actor)
Callow describes this book as a look at "my passions, my concerns, my

Few books, other than an encyclopedia of film, offers such a rich and comprehensive (not to mention impressive) index of big-hitters. From Charlie Chaplin to Jim Carey, Noel Coward to Woody Allen. People of weight and influence feature.

"when I was at drama school, the Lawrence Olivier controversy raged. Was he the greatest actor who had ever lived? Or was he simply appauling, a ham, externanal, tricksy, unwatchable?"

My Life in Pieces, while warm and engaging is also overly detailed and
at times a little self indulgent in places. Yet, this is forgiven because Callow has the skill of being able to articulate with such grace. On describing Paul Schofield, who had recently passed away from Leukemia:

"Schofield was the last of the theatrical Titans, a late flowering of that astonishing generation that included Olivier, Gielgud, ashcroft ...and his death on Wednesday leaves the stage immesuarbly impoverished".

As stated, the content is a veritable 'who's who' of names and faces that have graced theatre and film for decades. He describes his friendship with Rupert Everett and is candid about his (Callow's) homosexuality. It is noble to offer such candour.

"We went out for some tea and suddenly we were wasn't sex, although sex was the subject of many of our conversations... it was a very sweet relationship"

For some, it is the film, Four Weddings and a Funeral that they are most familiar with.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews