on 6 March 2005
Berkoff has written a deep, intense and thoroughly entertaining account of his life in this book. As one of the most prevalent and fascinating practitioners working in the theatre today my expectations were high, but his autobiography did not disappoint; he not only charts his artistic development throughout his life and writes with bravado and charisma but he also expresses some of the fragility and disappointment in his life. His honest treatment of his seeming inferiority complex, personal loss, disappointment and disillusionment as an actor and his dismissal by the theatre industry in Britain provides revealing insights into the REAL Berkoff behind his larger-than-life persona.
However, I have two complaints with the book:
1. It is titled 'Fee Association', this means that Berkoff's account is not chronological, instead he writes in sections, starting new sections when he has a new thought. This is EXTREMELY frustrating; it makes it impossible to judge his development, and leaves the reader confused and redundant. I realise that this scatty writing is suitable for Berkoff's personality, however unlike the other reviewer I found it gimmicky. Although Berkoff is a glutton for originality, I wish he had observed time continuity in this book- it would have saved me from flicking back to a section earlier in the book to recap on a particular period in his life.
2. The paperback edition of this book has one of the poorest bindings I have come across. I do not mistreat my books and have only read it once yet lots of the pages have fallen out. The binding is so poor (shame on you Faber!) that I've bought the hardback- I would advise that others buy the hardback until Faber improve their paperback binding.
These two complaints should not stop you from enjoying the book and are minor complaints when compared against the content and magnetism with which Berkoff pulls off this book.
on 6 June 2000
This is just a stonkingly good read. Berkoff avoids the tedious autobiographical structure and instead moves from era to era of his life as he recalls early memories that have influenced his work and the process involved in his writing and directing. As someone with a great respect for his work, I was fascinated. However, as an insight into the theatrical process in a juicily good read - witty ascerbic and thoroughly entertaining.