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on 30 August 2013
I hadn't come across the author before, but from reading this, he comes across as a fairly spoilt, self absorbed middle-aged man who hasn't suffered much adversity in life. He thinks he's a bit cool and good looking, reinforced endlessly with self-deprecatory comments that are about as believable as Boris Johnson's denials of Prime Ministerial ambition.
Lezard has written about the 3+ years he rented a shared flat following the breakdown of his marriage. He seems to think there's something inherently remarkable about this situation, and I kept reading, expecting some kind of descent into seedy depravity hinted at in the blurb. Instead, what emerges is a dull sequence of chapters charting Lezard's intertia as various amenities in his flat malfunction: Gasp as this well-connected, well-educated, gainfully employed adult chooses to be overcome by problems like moving a sofa; Try to contain yourself as Lezard alludes to - but declines to divulge - interesting anecdotes concerning reader-friendly characters like like C_______, S_______ or WWUtLM.
The saddest thing about this miserable exercise in reverse glorification is that Lezard clearly thinks that his Zone 1 rental experience is somehow interesting or noteworthy. Maybe you have to know him - maybe it is remarkable; maybe this guy was born to rule the empire or edit The Times. But if you don't know him, he writes about a lifestyle that millions of people would envy, living in a central London flat that's never short of willing co-habitees, being paid to write book reviews and articles about how he hasn't told the landlord that the lightbulb has broken.
After something like 280 pages of wallowing, of his privileged rants at capitalism (no doubt his education was paid for by the meritocracy fairy), the book culminates in him receiving a birthday card, having a "nice drink with my friends" and getting the phone call he was waiting for. As with his anecdotes - I can only imagine how hilarious the Keith Allen one must be (literally - he refuses to elaborate) - the identity and content of the call remains a mystery. If only it had been an editor telling him to rewrite this nauseating Mummy's Boy whine.