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Writing Home Hardcover – 1 Dec 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571232167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571232161
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 5.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 464,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alan Bennett has been one of our leading dramatists since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s. His television series Talking Heads has become a modern-day classic, as have many of his works for stage including Forty Years On, The Lady in the Van, A Question of Attribution, The Madness of George III (together with the Oscar-nominated screenplay The Madness of King George), and an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. At the National Theatre, London, The History Boys won numerous awards including Evening Standard and Critics' Circle awards for Best Play, an Olivier for Best New Play and the South Bank Award. On Broadway, The History Boys won five New York Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critcs' Circle Awards, a New York Drama Critics' Award, a New York Drama League Award and six Tony's. The Habit of Art opened at the National in 2009. His collection of prose, Untold Stories, won the PEN/Ackerley Prize for autobiography, 2006. The Uncommon Reader was published in 2007.

Product Description

Review

Simply the funniest and most poignant thing I've read all year... only fools and madmen will pass up the chance to read it. Writing Home is a must.' (Tatler) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Writing Home by Alan Bennett is a wonderfully entertaining collection of his writings, and the companion volume to Untold Stories.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Simon Hall on 25 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
Alan Bennett is a man of great humanity, who writes openly about closed lives in a way that feels very special. My gran used to shop at Bennett's father's shop, and I live across the river from Armley, where he grew up, so this episodic personal history has extra layers to it.
Yet there are plenty of layers for even the most casual reader - this could easily be what I would call 'a bog book', although some parts would require quite severe constipation for successful completion in one go. There are snippets, remembrances, essays, criticism... This is basically a collection of all the best bits of Bennett's non-fiction writing.
There is barely a hair's breadth between much of this writing and that of something like 'Talking Heads', which carries the same level of affectionate honesty. Bennett seems to be such a dispassionate person, as if observing the world through glass, yet when one chooses to see the world from his happy-sad perspective, one is often moved to tears. I'm not sure I can explain it: sometimes it's like Mr Spock from Star Trek, mystified at humans in general, and human emotion in particular.
Bennett is not a religious man (although he had a religious upbringing), yet this book instills in me a sense of wonder at the ordinary things in life, and a hope that I, too, might see below the surface, even as I am staring at it, seeing nothing else.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By haggiskebab on 8 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have returned to this book several times. I have laughed till I cried at the hilarious observations and choked up at the most poignantly sad passages, both aspects of Bennett's writing especially evident in 'The Lady in the Van' reproduced in its entirety in this collection. A gem of a book from a rare gem of a man.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
Any book that can relieve the tedium, grime and discomfort of London's Northern Line from East Finchley to Totenham Court Road, has to be given space in the work bag - even if it means elbowing the tupperware box of sarnies. This delightful collection of poignant and often amusing recollections and observations are a joy from beginning to end.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By P. M. Clark on 14 Jan. 2007
Format: Paperback
Fairly new to Alan Bennett, this book has given me the most enormous pleasure. It can be dipped into, or read in big doses with equal pleasure. He is able to show the reader the results of a fascinating life amongst the great and good, and also the very lowly. Very witty, but also thought-provoking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso' on 2 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Simon Callow, in a review of this book's sequel, produced this Wildean mot: Bennett 'has joined the ranks of the non-joiners'. It would be nice to hear these words repeated at his funeral (not imminent, I trust)

Who knew Bennett would be the stayer among the fab four of review (variety's more refined cousin), those harbingers of the Sixties, the Beyond the Fringe quartet? But this late developer and unwitting dissident was the awkwardest of the awkward squad. (And the toughest. Being a Yorkshire grammar-school queer, he had to be.) Cook and Moore I feel only contempt for now, given their promise and privilege. (Peter Sellers at least earned his notoriety.) Miller, Dr 'Renaissance Man' of yore, has spoken of his own regrets - though his choices were harder

And Bennett? It's the Yorkshire, and the class-anger, that put the grit into what might otherwise have been a singularly limp individualist. I probably think class is a good thing - class, not inherited rank - but let that pass. Like Pepys's or Boswell's, Bennett's voice will endure, surely, as long as the English language is cherished. Which may not be all that long
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S J Buck TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Nov. 2007
Format: Hardcover
If there is a spark of humanity in you read this book. Alan Bennett was part of the satire boom in early 60's and when neccessary has a caustic dry wit that can catch you by surprise sometimes. However for me what comes through in this book is his humanity.

The first section of the book where this is highlighted is his address at the funeral of Russell Harty, which only amounts to 7 pages. Harty was a successful TV show host and interviewer who was hounded by the press in the 1980's over his sexuality (he was homosexual and never tried to hide that fact). Bennetts address is full of compassion and will either leave you crying or plotting a nasty end to some of the gutter press.

'The Lady in the Van' is a full chapter (45 pages) and a completely true story. At one point it was available to buy as a seperate book and is taken largely from his diaries. In the 1970's and 1980's outside Alan Bennett's own house in Camden an old lady (Miss Shepherd) lived in a Van in the street. After a time the council decided she could no longer stay on the street. Amazingly Bennett allowed her to move her Van into his garden and there she remained until she died. This is truly a remarkable story. Bennett of course is a marvellous observer of people and there is a side of me that says he only did it so that he could watch her. However read 'The Lady in the Van' in full and you are left in doubt that Alan Bennett couldn't have done it for that reason, because Miss Shephard's living conditions were frankly disgusting and the smell.. well enough said. Its a truly moving and poignant story.

The diaries constitute a major section of the book amounting to 180 pages. These cover the years 1980 to 1995. There is a section of prefaces to plays as well as articles on writers and filming. These other sections of the book are of the same high standard of writing as the two I mention above, if not all on quite the same emotional level.
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