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The Perfect Stranger (Lives & letters) [Paperback]

P. J. Kavanagh

RRP: £12.99
Price: £12.36 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 July 1995 Lives & letters
J.Kavanagh's early years were full of incident and adventure: the comedy, passion and the abrupt tragedy of that life are recounted in what Richard Ingrams described as 'one of the best memoirs I have read -- a brilliant self-portrait by a born writer with a humorous, poetic and genuinely religious outlook on life.' For Michael Frayn The Perfect Stranger is 'a fine memorial to youth and love -- perhaps to the youth and love of all our generation'. From a Butlin holiday camp to Switzerland and then Paris, to a battlefield in Korea, to Oxford and Barcelona, and finally to Java, his life made little sense to him until 'something extraordinary happened': he met 'the perfect stranger' of the title, with its oblique tribute to Louis MacNeice. This tender, funny and unsentimental record of the uniqueness of human love, with its shocking conclusion, is a poet's tribute of thanks.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd; New edition edition (20 July 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857541782
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857541786
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 512,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'To hear the truth so devastatingly and yet so joyfully encountered is rare in an age where autobiography has been flattened by the massed weight of political and public reminiscence. This autobiography, from its beginning to its bitter end, is a celebration of joy: joy in youth, in woman, in male camaraderie, in the struggle of art, in married love.' Times Literary Supplement --Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

P.J. KAVANAGH was born in England in 1931. Wounded in the Korean war, he later went to Oxford. He has worked as a lecturer, actor, broadcaster and columnist and has written novels, two volumes of autobiography and essays, and edited anthologies. His name is closely associated with the poetry of Ivor Gurney, a seminal edition of whose work he prepared in 1982. Carcanet publish two books of his poems and The Perfect Stranger.

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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love's mysteries, that no one can explain 12 May 2000
By bossa_nova - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This slim volume recounts the author's young life, and his struggle to find the meaning of existence. When he met Sally, everything became suddenly clear. The author says this is not an autobiography, but the story of a rescue: he talks about himself only to explain what he was rescued from. He tries to express something which cannot be expressed directly, but only as if 'to be seen out of the corner of the eye'. So the reader may be disappointed that he says so little about his great love. The book ends abruptly with Sally's early and sudden death.
It is good to have evidence that perfect love and perfect happiness are possible on this earth, though given to very few.
You can read more about Sally in Rosamond Lehemann's 'The Swan in the Evening'.
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