9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A life in pieces? Magnificent when put together,
This review is from: My Life in Pieces: An Alternative Autobiography (Hardcover)
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Simon Callow is not only an outstanding stage actor (yes, he's done movies too, but it's on the stage where his love is and where his talent really shines), but over the years he has become an accomplished writer of biographies, book reviewer, obituary writer and autobiographer. My Life in Pieces is a sort of autobiography, although not a conventional one. He's already written those in Being an Actor and Shooting the Actor. This is a collection of some of his newspaper and magazine pieces (and the odd book intro) loosely collated with a coherent narrative taking us from the idea of acting, to work and beyond. It's not chronological - but rather like an avuncular eccentric he tells a loose story and as a person comes up, he finds something he has written about them elsewhere. Sadly rather too many of these are obituaries.
Callow is a natural hero-worshipper and his affection for his craft and its practitioners make this an upbeat and entertaining collection. True, he's helped by having known some of the true greats - Olivier, Gielgud, Richardson, Guinness, Simon Grey, Redgrave, etc - but he's equally entertaining and thoughtful on styles of acting and writers. Anyone with even a passing interest in the theatre could hardly fail to be enriched by this great collection.
You can also see the development of his writing style. Some of his earlier pieces (as I've said they are not chronological but he says if it's an early article) are less well written, but with remarkable speed, he became a gifted and thoughtful writer on the theatre.
Perhaps the only thing missing is that because the focus in on other people, there's less of Callow's own humour here - although some of the stories about the other actors had me laughing out loud. Thoughtful, interesting, intelligent, well written and an original approach to autobiography. Very highly recommended.