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North Face of Soho (Unreliable Memoirs) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 4 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio; Abridged edition edition (6 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405092653
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405092654
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.5 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 642,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Clive James is the author of more than twenty books, including four previous volumes of autobiography (Unreliable Memoirs, Falling Towards England, May Week was in June and North Face of Soho), collections of literary and television criticism, essays, travel writing, verse and novels. 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. His most recent poetry collection, Angels Over Elsinore, was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Prize for Poetry.

Product Description


"'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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Richer on 5 Nov. 2006
Format: Hardcover
Some commentators seem to tend to the view that Clive James has an over-high opinion of his own qualities. My own view is that these same commentators ought to belt up until they have written an article with anything like the clout of the introduction to From the Land of Shadows, to pick just one from a wide range of alternatives. North Face of Soho is the fourth volume in the Unreliable Memoirs series and it has been a long time since the third, May Week was in June, published back in 1990. Since then we have seen a lot less of James on the television and it is unlikely viewers under thirty will appreciate how much of a peak-time feature he was not so long ago.

There is no evidence in this book that James misses those times, and overall he appears to think that he is well out of it. Readers will find that North Face is generally darker in tone than the earlier volumes in the series, which had an embarrassing tendency to leave one spluttering with laughter whilst travelling on public transport, but there are still plenty of eye widening episodes included. Some of these relate to the author's copious consumption of booze and cannabis, both of which he gave up completely during the period covered, and the extent of his addictive tendencies is surprising, given the discipline that seems to have powered his creative output over the years.

A theme of slowly acquiring a greater sense of responsibility runs through this book. It begins shortly after James's marriage, with children on the way, and the future wellbeing of the family depending on his contribution to household income. The earlier sections tell of an endless round of poorly paid freelance pieces and deadlines that James could only meet by working through the night.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's been a long time since the last installment of Clive James' Unreliable Memoirs appeared in 1990; the previous one came out five years before then, and the original volume (from which the series takes its title) five years before that. So there's been a change of pace, and there's a change of style as well. Much of the appeal of the first three books came from the stories of how a well-respected, intelligent, prolific media figure started out in life; the contrast between his tough public persona and - say - the defecating, masturbating, over-consuming child depicted in the first volume was particularly striking. The air of self-deprecation (if not brutal honesty) hung over the second and third installments, as he sought to make his way to England, and established himself at Cambridge.

Although this installment follows on immediately from the end of the last one (where he was just about to leave Cambridge following his marriage), everything changes here. Being more an account of how he found his way into London's media scene (where he became preeminent), he's left out the self-deprecation, preferring to tell the story straight. Part of this appears to be a sharing of his experiences in an attempt to instruct any reader who has ideas about following in his footsteps.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Al on 1 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Falling Towards England" was always the funniest book I've ever read. In this latest installment of his memoirs Clive James takes the humour of the previous volume and hones it to a sophisticated perfection - the descriptions of his colleagues and various editors and mentors at The Pillar of Hercules had me bellowing with laughter - but tempers it with an older wisdom, a poignant sense of time passing all too quickly and not in the right direction.
Here too are some wonderful apercus about the process of writing, and a passionate sense of how much it matters. The result is a celebration of the fun of bohemia and of the deep seriousness which must underpin it if the work is to get done.
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By hiljean VINE VOICE on 4 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
I have read the three previous volumes of Clive James's autobiography, and "Unreliable Memoirs" remains as one of my very favourite books. The following two volumes didn't quite match up to that for humour and interest, but for me this one came up to expectations. It probably helps if you have some knowledge of the media industry (mine is second-hand through a close relative) so that you can identify with much that is being said.

What I enjoyed and admired about this book was James's usual self-deprecating humour (loved his descriptions of his 1970s outfits and hairstyles) combined with the wisdom that often comes only with hindsight which he is honest enough to admit. It is NOT, as some seem to think, a catalogue of boasts; James often points out that he owed much to good fortune and being lost for words when silence worked to his advantage.

I would happily re-read this book, and look forward to reading the fifth instalment "The Blaze of Obscurity" which is already sitting on my bookshelf.
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