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North Face of Soho [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Clive James
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Review

"'His proses mixes together cleverness and clownishness, and achieves a fluency and a level of wit that makes his pages truly shimmer' Financial Times"

From the Inside Flap

After Unreliable Memoirs, Falling Towards England and May Week Was in June comes the next instalment in the ongoing saga that is Clive James's life.

At the very end of May Week Was in June, we left our hero sitting beside the River Cam one beautiful 1968 spring day, jotting down his thoughts in a journal. Newly married and about to leave the cloistered world of Cambridge academia for the racier, glossier life promised by Literary London, he was, so he informed his journal, reasonably satisfied. But what happened next?

Quite a lot is the answer. From Fleet Street to Clive James on TV , from Russian department stores to Paris fashion shows, writing plays, poetry, lyrics, reviews, essays, articles and novels -- as well as Unreliable Memoirs volumes one, two and three -- Clive James was never not insanely busy. Throw in fatherhood, some killer bees, and a satire starring Anne Robinson as Mrs Thatcher, and you still don't have the half of it.

Intelligent, amusing and provocative (the words apply to the man himself as much as his memoir), North Face of Soho tells the whole story, in all its glory. Every bit as entertaining, engrossing, and honest, as the previous three volumes, it's a book that's long overdue, has been eagerly anticipated -- and proves well worth the wait.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

The best an entertainer can hope to do, when writing about what he does (and nobody asks him to do that: he decides to do it for his own reasons), is to be instructive. As a consequence, this book will be full of homilies about what to avoid. These homilies are sincerely meant, but with one proviso, which I hope is a saving grace: if I myself had avoided all these things, I would probably have got nothing done at all, because the errors were essential. There is hope, therefore, that young people contemplating a career in the arts and the media might find guidance here, and those less young people who have run into difficulties might find consolation. For readers leading normal, and therefore more important, lives, there might also be the consolation of any evidence I can offer that those of us who have been granted a disproportionate ability to express ourselves may not always have the best selves to express. I hope to get all the way to my grave without committing any major crimes, but within the limits of the law there are very few human failings that I have not embodied. Some of them I can’t specify without embarrassing other people. But if I did not embarrass myself, this book would be too far short of the truth to repay reading, or to be worth writing. The older I get, the more time I spend wishing I had done things differently. I wish that could be different, but there you go. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Clive James is the author of more than twenty books. As well as his memoirs, he has published essays, collections of literary and television criticism, travel writing, verse and novels. 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 and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature.
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