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4.3 out of 5 stars141
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 4 November 2012
I first heard Rupert Everett reading excerpts from Vanished Years on Radio 4's book at bedtime and bought it straight away - it's great when an author reads his own work and he does it so well in this case, with the full array of American accents! Most of what I heard was the episode of the American sitcom which was hilarious - I imagined this was what the whole book was going to be. In fact it's so much more. It's not a linear actor's biography of all the funny or glamourous experiences he has had, as perhaps one might expect. It is funny and does recount glamourous parties like the party given by Tina Brown for Talk magazine on Statue of Liberty island in the twilight of the last century, to which Rupert accompanies Madonna.

An author can focus his attention on the superficial or something more profound. In this book Rupert manages to mix the two with a mastery of hand jumping back and forth in time and weaving these elements together with his stunning prose that makes it so much more than a 'romp.' It's about death and illusion. At one stage, after Natasha Richardson's funeral he walks back across a frozen Central Park "The lake is frozen. The city towers over the treetops, a galaxy of windows sparkling with life, while the dead whistle round the naked branches in the park below." It's about the contrast of what we think we are going to be or do and what we actually achieve. Speaking of Natasha, "Perhaps we were more alike than we cared to admit. Both of us dreamt, after all, of entirely different careers for ourselves than the ones we ultimately achieved. (She wanted to be Vivien Leigh and I wanted to be Montgomery Clift.)" It's about the passing of time and the coming to terms with who you are, in relation to your parents, your dreams, your friends, your lovers and yourself. Brilliant! Bravo Mr Everett! Encore!
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VINE VOICEon 17 October 2012
This is not a 'celebrity' autobiography, a ghost-written TV tie-in, or a C-list Christmas stocking-filler luvvy fest. Rather it's a beautifully nuanced, elegantly written, and effortlessy moving memoir from an actor who really deserves to be more highly regarded in his profession - and our affections - than he currently is. That he can act AND write so beguilingly is evidence, if any were needed, of a rare talent. I have always had a soft spot for Rupert Everett, despite - maybe because of - the drugs, debauchery, and rent-boy backstory (what's so wrong with a little youthful fun?) that appear to have hobbled and compromised his acting credentials. I absolutely loved his previous autobiographical outing (!) in 'Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins', and this second volume fills in some of the gaps, a hugely entertaining, witty, and often camp chronicle of doomed friendships, raucous adventures, and heartstring-tugging charity missions. Particularly moving are those chapters on his father, with the likes of Anita Pallenberg, Nicky Haslam, Isabella Blow, Derek Jacobi, Natasha Richardson and others making up a reliably glamourous and gossipy supporting cast. In short, this is a delicious romp in the company of a consummate roué and accomplished story-teller.
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on 27 September 2012
I absolutely loved this book. Rupert writes beautiful prose and whether he's describing the poignant trip to Lourdes with his father or appearing on The Apprentice, he manages to be evocative and witty. His acid tongue is well employed knocking the holy cows of modern celebrity. He's also self effacing and self aware and turns his wit towards himself. It's a treat of a book to read, compulsive and moving.
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on 26 January 2013
If you're looking for a showbiz memoir, full of reminisces about celebrity high jinks involving copious quantities of drugs and sex, then this isn't it. This is more a thoughtful and very English (well, a certain type of middle-class English) autobiography that is thoughtful, insightful and moving, as Everett looks to console himself with the memories of the "vanished years, remembered laughter, remembered tears". He isn't always successful in finding that consolation, and the overall tone of the book is one of tender melancholy for lovers, friends and family that have faded into the black.
Everett can write, and the memories that he wanders through here aren't always maudlin. The book starts with a funny reprise of his fleeing from the filming of BBC's celebrity Comic Relief Apprentice, nailing Alan Sugar as the long lost brother of Sid James while shrieking with terror in the face of Alastair Campbell and Piers Morgan's boarding-school bullying. It was one of the few well-known incidents he recalls that I can remember. I'm not that interested in showbiz or celebrity, and I read this book because of the reviews that said it was funny, observant and cynical about that whole world, which it is. But more than that it was the thoughtful examination of his relationships with his friends and family in the face of the Grim Reaper that will stay with me, an anthem for doomed youth and old age pensioners that is simultaneously warm and chilling.
At one point, about halfway through the book, I thought about giving up as it wasn't really gripping me enough, but I'm glad I stuck with it to the end, the final chapters being some of the strongest and best written as far as I was concerned. I'm not sure that Rupert Everett is comfortable with growing old, but he's stuck with it like we all are, and his autobiography is maybe a way of trying to come to terms with it. And I'm glad he wrote it.
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on 17 October 2012
Rupert Everett writes extraordinarily well - he hooks you in with some titillating showbiz behind-the-scenes gossip racy sexual adventure and before you know it you're into the meaning of life/death and everything along the way - very few writers could manage to pull off this mix of the salacious and serious as well as he does. Highly recommended.
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on 17 November 2012
I adored Rupert's last biography, Red Carpets & Banana Skins, and this one is just as beautifully written and entertaining. The wonderful thing about Rupert is that he is such a complex, talented and flawed human being, which makes him so compelling. He lays himself bare, which a lot of autobiographers avoid doing, because they don't want anyone to know their short-comings. Rupert doesn't care and I think that is what makes his book so thrilling. He's so honest, about himself and everyone he comes into contact with. He has a formidible intelligence, a sharp wit and a great gift for writing. In fact, I wish he'd write more novels. He's one of the best writers of prose I have ever read. His imagery sometimes takes my breath away, as does his viper-sharp analysis of the people who cross his path. He's a great story-teller and a brilliant observer of human nature - most notably his own! This is undoubtably the very best autobiography I have read. I envy anyone who still has it to look forward to!
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on 8 November 2012
Rupert Everett has, by any definition, had a fairly extraordinary life, what is so gratifying, is how extraordinarily well he writes about it. When I read his first memoir, I came to it with a lot of preconceptions about who he was, all of which were of course completely wrong. Both books are by turns profound, hilarious, insightful, unflinchingly self deprecating, and on occasion, extremely moving. I loved it.
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on 28 May 2014
All the blurbs hyped this book - well blurbs of course do.
But this book is disappointing. I was expecting much more about the celeb scene, Hollywood, etc. After all he's been there. There's a nice story about him escaping The Apprenticeship and calling Alan Sugar Sid James. But otherwise there's a lot of stuff about the Catholic Church and, of course, queens everywhere.
I found myself scanning and skipping chunks which I don't normally do.
Don't believe the hype.
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on 21 July 2013
I heard Rupert Everett reading a bit of this on the radio and it was very funny. Unfortunately, en masse, it really isn't funny any more, just sad and cynical. He does share some interesting insights into the whole Holywood thing, but without warmth it just feels like a building bitterness. Very disappointing. In fact, one of the few books I haven't finished in my life.
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on 23 February 2014
I bought this book because three presenters on BBC Radio 4's programme 'A Good Read' rejoiced at reading an honest account on celebrities and how it feels when you are no longer on the A-list. This is true of the first chapter when we read about Madonna, Piers Morgan and Tina Brown among others, but the rest of the book is a long trail through Cambodia and Russia on charity trips, 100 pages on his father's illness, 50 pages on Isabella Blow of whom I'd not heard, and time-jumps all over the place with other anecdotal stories, mostly about people dying. I will not be trusting 'A Good Read' again.
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