Becoming a Londoner: A Diary Hardcover – 26 Sep 2013
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A compelling, absorbing account of a most vivid period in our cultural history, both high-minded and full of high gossip ... a rare treat (Melvyn Bragg)
The cast is impressive: there us Francis Bacon in the Colony Room, W H Auden buying carpet slippers in the Strand, Philip Roth and Claire Bloom ... A wholly new picture of the Spenders' marriage materialises ... The book also offers a window on to a changing world ... The sense of an older, more formal and class-based world giving way to a new order is movingly portrayed ... The book is also powerful as a portrait of mutual love (Lara Feigel, Guardian)
David Plante is the ideal diarist: he has a fascination with the famous, a relish for anecdote and gossip, an ability to capture people in a few words, and the essential self-awareness. His elegiac and often very funny portrait of the years 1966-86 . The treat of the year (Peter Parker, Spectator Books of the Year)
This memoir casts intriguing new light and shadow on the poet Stephen Spender ... The complexities of interconnected liberal literary and artistic life in 1960s and 1970s London are exposed in candid extracts from the extensive, sharply observant, drily witty diary that Plante has kept since 1966 (Iain Finlayson, The Times Biography and Memoir Books of the Year)
An experimental amuse-bouche of a book ... Fascinating ... In Plante's account, Francis Bacon comes alive (Spectator)
It is Plante's study of his private life with his lover Nikos in their London home and their glittering cultural circle which makes his diary an eye opening glimpse of a recent but very different England (Metro)
A diary of 1960s London packed with high-end literary and art world gossip (Town & Country)
David Plante's Becoming a Londoner was a shameless wallow in lost time for me, since, in reading about this world, I see that it is one I too both did and did not inhabit: high-bohemian, mainly male, homosexual London Seventies society. Plante, a French-Canadian, sees it with an outsider's acuity, hankering and disconnection, already nostalgic for his own present. And there is a strong account of one great, lifelong love (Candia McWilliam, Scotsman Books of the Year)
As readers of the notorious Difficult Women (1983) will know, candour is also the hallmark of what Plante writes about others, and those drawn to this book for its high-calibre gossip will not be disappointed . Absorbing, illuminating and hugely entertaining diaries. They stand as a vivid memorial to an entire era from which, as the necrology in a postscript all too vividly shows, most of the leading players are now lost to us (Times Literary Supplement)
Plante's anecdotal, witty diaries, spanning two decades, recall drinking sprees with Francis Bacon, partying with Rosamond Lehmann and standing next to Rudolf Nureyev at the urinals of the Curzon Street cinema (Independent)
The first volume of David Plante's extraordinary diaries of a life lived among the artistic elite, both a deeply personal memoir and a hugely significant document of cultural historySee all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
He's far too bright and intelligent to ape Jennifer's diary yet the book lacks a governing sense of purpose. It meanders aimlessly at huge length, stopping off as often as a London bus to attend cocktail parties, to have drinks or dine with the likes of Francis Bacon, Stephen Spender and Stephen Runciman. Plante also celebrates far too often his serene, loving partnership with publisher Nikos Stangos, for the art of navel-gazing can go too far and quickly.
There is a sort of narrative thread or rather subplot, almost in the style of Les Liasons Dangereuses, in which Plante and Stangos are caught up with the bisexual Spender who conceals from his uneasy, understandably watchful wife, Natasha, the details of his close, sexually sublimated association and evident fascination with the gay couple. Plante evidently worries a bit, but not that much, about what jealousies the knowing and also unknowing Natasha must feel about her husband devoting so much time away from the marital home. Just what sort of complex game were Sir Stephen and his wife playing with each other in terms of Spender playing away? Did Plante and Stangos consider breaking or loosening the link?Perhaps the diarist was too engrossed in the starriness to brood much about such things as they hurried off to the next set of cocktails.
Perhaps the answer lies in what I want from a diary of this kind. I'm looking for three main elements.
Firstly, a sense of the diarist as a writer constantly wrestling with his or her art, a sense of the art emerging from the daily struggle, and then how the work is received by the world. I want an insight into the genesis of the work and what it means, at a deep level, to the writer. On this count, Plante fails. If he has kept an account of his writing life, it is not included here. I get no sense of him creating and crafting his novels and stories. For a writer, this is rather a surprising gap.
Secondly, I'm looking for literary value: a quality of language, emerging from a finely-tuned sensibility and acute intelligence, which rises above the general level.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
David Plante has been recycling his diary for some time now (though he modestly declines to list earlier efforts among his previously published works) but a diary with colour pics? Read morePublished 13 days ago by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'