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Seasonal Suicide Notes: My Life as it is Lived [Hardcover]

Roger Lewis
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2009
Christmas round robins from a grumpy old man - For some years, the biographer Roger Lewis has been entertaining his friends with a letter at Christmas, in which he records details of the joys and frustrations of his life as it is actually lived. Here for the first time is a book-length version of this 'cult classic', a hilarious collection of diaries and memoirs - highlights of which include a trip up the Amazon River with countless ants and Maureen Lipman; his eldest son Tristan training to be a juggler at Zippos Circus ("Frankly, where did Magdalen College, Oxford, ever get me, eh?"); the mystery of the stolen kettle at Age Concern; the humiliation of not being invited to the premiere of his very own movie at Cannes; and the way the Dell call-centre people in Bombay keep thinking he's a woman...With his sharp eye for folly, his malice - and the unexpected shafts of humanity in spite of his chronic ill temper - Roger Lewis is the Evelyn Waugh of the 21st century. These addictive and paradoxically life-enhancing Seasonal Suicide Notes have the makings of a lasting comic masterpiece.

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Seasonal Suicide Notes: My Life as it is Lived + What Am I Still Doing Here?: My Years as Me
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906021767
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906021764
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"This is comedy of a rare quality. Lewis is a seriously funny man. --The Sunday Express, October 4th, 2009

"Seasonal Suicide Notes is the most brilliantly funny and genuinely thought-provoking book of the year." --The Sunday Times, October 4th, 2009

"Roger Lewis is a genius writer, and he knows it."
Lynn Barber --Lynn Barber

"He makes me cry with laughter - I really cried, blubbering and sniffling and gasping. Roger Lewis is a magnificently bilious comic genius." Francis Wheen
--Francis Wheen

This is one of the funniest books you will ever read. And the most reckless. If you like black comedy you'll find yourself in Narnia. --The Spectator, October, 2009

If they ever award gold medals for comic genius Roger Lewis will be a shoo-in for gold. --The Mail on Sunday, October 2009

The perfect Christmas present is already on the shelves. It is the funniest, truest, most engaging thing I've read all year.
--Michael Gove, The Times, October 19th 2009

These sulphurous round-robins are not just cry-makingly funny; there are also arresting insights into literature and life, with flashes of beautiful seriousness.
--Daily Telegraph, October 24th, 2009

"Ironically, Roger Lewis's dyspeptic chronicle of a disenchanted soul is so sharply observant and deliriously funny that it makes you glad to be alive. One for every grumpy old man's Christmas stocking." --The Daily Telegraph, November 2009

About the Author

Roger Lewis is the author of books about Laurence Olivier, Charles Hawtrey and Anthony Burgess. His international bestselling biography The Life and Death of Peter Sellers was adapted into a multi-award-winning film. Married to an educational psychologist and with three sons, Lewis divides his time between Herefordshire and Austria.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too good to waste on another person... 18 Oct 2009
By The Man from the Ministry TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I don't blame the publisher for trying to maximise sales by having the standard, insipid Christmas humour title dustjacket, but it doesn't do justice to the book. This is one of the funniest and most incisive books I've read for years and I hate Roger Lewis for being far wittier than I could ever hope to be. At least I'm slimmer (just) and less Welsh ( a lot).

This book will probably appear on gift tables (or even worse, "gifting", which sounds a little rude) in bookshops, but this wonderful, liberating, vitriolic rant is far too good to waste on others. Buy it for yourself.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scabrously brilliant 25 Oct 2009
By Sirin
Format:Hardcover
I asked for this book in the Picadilly branch of Waterstones, 'That's by Lewis Roger' said the pretty sales assistant. An apposite anecdote given the bile contained within this book. Lewis Roger is a grub street journalist trying to make a living when grub street has collapsed and instead of living in London schmoozing with literary types he is washed up in the 'Herefordshire Balkans'.

This short book is a seriously funny account of his life, his complaints, and his erstwhile desire for recognition. Following a much misunderstood, much maligned biography of Anthony Burgess (10 copies sold in the last year of counting), Lewis bewails just about every successful recent British writer/celeb. Delightfully in various ways, he lays into Clive James - a writer of 'mouldy fudge', Andrew Roberts (a baboon), Ned Sherrin, Simon Cowell, Julian Barnes (and his late wife Pat Kavanagh), Jeremy Clarkson, 'sad mother' Julie Myerson and best of all, Harold Pinter (obit) 'what a dreadful clanking beast he was'. Heaven knows how he got this past the libel lawyers. I for one am delighted he did.

Interspersed with this literary bile are delightful snippets of his life as a marooned intellectual in the provinces. He cuts out articles from the local paper and offers snippets of local life: 'Age Concern has introduced a Toe Nail Cutting Scheme in the Community Centre run by "our trained volunteers", and tells filthy jokes picked up from Barry Cryer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet 4 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bitter. Sweet. Candid. Foul-mouthed. Honest. Conceited.

Simply brilliant. A pitch-perfect look at life as it really is. If, like me, you hate 'round robin' notes at Christmas you'll love this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Upper-middle-class bellyaching 1 July 2010
By Noel TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got this thinking it would be like David Sedaris' brilliant "Santaland Diaries" and would be a good read for the airport/plane on holiday this year - well all I can say is thank god I brought other books with me! This was a real stinker for many reasons.

The book is divided up into years starting in 2004 and then every year is broken down into months where Lewis talks about what "hilarious" things happened to him in that month.

Lewis talks about how his 1200 page autobiography of Peter Sellers was so much more complex than the film was (fair, given nobody would sit through a 20 hour film) but goes on and on about this for pages. He moans about how his work is underappreciated, how nobody likes him, how little his books sell, and how much he deserves fame and wealth for his book on Sellers and a similarly long and inaccessible book on Anthony Burgess.

And that's what really gets me - the tone. It's this whiny, annoying whinge throughout about how he deserves fame for his work coupled with the sniping at colleagues and "the London literary clique" which he goes to great pains to stress he's not a part of. He goes on about how he's not invited to parties in London but when he is invited to The Times party he makes a point of saying that he stayed home and watched "The Bill". Then he's invited to a magazine party and he stays home to watch "Eastenders". And so on, etc. I think he wants the reader to think he's a cool outsider? It's a bit grasping given he complains yet again about how little he earns and deserves millions for his work. Would a literary outlaw be so tedious?
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If the reviews make you laugh.... 9 Oct 2009
By Wooster
Format:Hardcover
then the book itself will probably set you off into a convulsion. Lewis is the voice of the everyman, if only the everyman was disgustingly bright, frighteningly insightful, and with an eye for the brilliant awfulness of most of life. I LOVE IT.
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30 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rebel, Rebel 1 Jan 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Roger Lewis makes a great deal of his lowly upbringing - butcher's boy, Wales etc. What he doesn't tell the reader, and which you may not have known, is that his great uncle was the famous novelist, painter and polemicist, Wyndham Lewis. A beautiful, if ferocious, prose style, a keen eye for suitably odious targets and a dark sense of humour - all talents the great Wyndham had, which, sadly, are lacking in his dipstick of a nephew.

Rog doesn't live in Fulham. Ok? Got that? Sure? Good. Rog wants to come on like a rebel, an outsider, but he went to Oxford, he spends half his year in Austria, his book on Peter Sellers was made into a feature film and he is matey with 'loyal comrades-in-arms' Lynn Barber, Sam Leith, Francis Wheen, Gyles Brandreth amongst bag loads of other well-known, well-paid, establishment journos and writers. What exactly is the difference between someone who boasts of being a member of the Garrick and someone who boasts he is the 'only person to refuse an offer of membership of the Garrick?' Both are conceited bores.

'Seasonal Suicide Notes' is a well-presented little book with a nice Christmassy cover and it fits neatly into a Christmas stocking. Respect to the publishers who have done a good marketing job on it. The contents though are mediocre. Roger admires fine writing, but continues to fail to be able to produce it. This book is marginally better written than his biography of Burgess, having, as it does, a subject much closer to the writer's heart. At least, on this occasion, the scattershot spleen and monotonous, whiney tone only dirty the reader's feelings towards Lewis and not to somebody they might actually care about.

If you are looking for a great book about those left behind by life, try Lewis's Austrian compatriot, Thomas Bernhard.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Rants R us
A collection of desperately unfunny round robins. (Round robins that don't strive so strenuously for laughs are funnier by far. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Simon Barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars Hillarious
I have just read this on my Kindle and I am about to buy a copy for my cousin; it is brilliantly funny. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Shadow
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud
Having read in the D Mail today, 2nd Jan 2012, (not my paper, found on train, honest guv) that Roger Lewis is in Hospital, I went online to see how he was doing, ending up looking... Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2012 by sideshowsu
5.0 out of 5 stars Stupendous
Quite the funniest book I have ever read. Lewis's observations on life, not least the self-deprecating ones, are paralysingly hilarious. Read more
Published on 6 Oct 2011 by S. Nickerson
5.0 out of 5 stars The antidote to round robins.
I suffer each year from a couple who think I am interested in the state of hubbie's rectum, their pensions, and did we notice the archbishop who died was someone they knew 40 years... Read more
Published on 8 Sep 2011 by Miss C. Soutar
1.0 out of 5 stars The tone seemed a bit bitter
I agree with the other 1 star review, the tone just seemed bitter and whiney. I did not finish the book, so cannot comment fully.
Published on 16 Aug 2011 by J. Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic
This really made me laugh out loud a few times, and kept me hugely amused throughout. It's absurdly self-obsessed at times, ridiculously unfair to a few others, startlingly rude... Read more
Published on 28 Sep 2010 by eringobragh
5.0 out of 5 stars So good I read it in a day.
A fine book which will have you laughing out loud. Over the years I've been returning to the author's biography of Peter Sellers due to its singularly original and perceptive... Read more
Published on 12 Aug 2010 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost illegally funny
This book was confiscated on a recent holiday by my nine year old daughter. 'Laughing out loud like that about a book will make people think you are mad. Read more
Published on 8 Aug 2010 by myfanwy
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
One of the funniest & most honest books I have read in ages.
A "grumpy old man" rant perhaps....but bloody funny. Read more
Published on 5 Jun 2010 by P. A. Tonkin
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