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A Curious Career Hardcover – 8 May 2014

3.7 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1st edition (8 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408837196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408837191
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.3 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Barber's recollections of her time as a celebrity interviewer follow the success of An Education, her memoir of her early life. It should be a delight, dripping with gems about her encounters with everyone from Rudolf Nureyev to Lady Gaga ( Sunday Times)

Packed full of incredible stories (Glamour)

The book of the career of the ferocious interviewer: what happens, she says, when a nosy child grows up to find her perfect job (Katy Guest Independent on Sunday)

Praise for Lynn Barber:

'Barber's elegant prose radiates love

(Jane Shilling Daily Telegraph)

Lots of fun ... very moving (Evening Standard)

Funny, bold, incisive, clever and interesting (Independent)

Candid, unsentimental and extremely funny. I read it in one glorious go, laughing and crying throughout (Zoe Heller)

The queen bee of the celebrity interview (Daily Mail)

For a guide [to journalism], there could be no better place to start than with Lynn Barber's second volume of autobiography, A Curious Career (Olivia Cole GQ)

Funny, thoughtful and beautifully written ( Glamour )

Barber's back with a candid and extremely entertaining account of her early career as a celebrity interviewer that's packed with anecdotes illuminating both her own and her interviewees' lives ... I read this in a sitting, unable to stop smiling ( Women & Home )

A riot of a read - funny, irreverent, artlessly frank (Decca Aitkenhead Guardian )

Barber turned the interview into an art form ... Like all the best conjurors, she relies on speed, practice, psychological insight, a powerful imagination and phenomenally acute observation. For nearly half a century she has held up a mirror in which her contemporaries see themselves reflected with a precision and panache most novelists would envy - and most biographers too (Hilary Spurling Guardian )

A terrific read ... Lynn Barber can take an over-interviewed, not-terribly-interesting celebrity and write 5,000 words about them that are so clever, bold and funny you want to read to the very end (Financial Times)

For fans of Lynn Barber, A Curious Career will delight and entertain. For anyone contemplating a career in celebrity journalist, it's absolutely indispensible ***** (Mail on Sunday)

Barber brilliantly nails the ghastly black-comedy irrationality of grief and the quietly heroic business of keeping-on keeping-in while everything simultaneously stops making sense ... Barber's wince-making eloquence on the pain of fresh widowhood lingered long after I finished A Curious Career. And then at the end I felt terribly disappointed; even having read it as slowly as I dared, at 211 pages it was all over far too quickly ... both on the page and in real life, Lynn Barber invariably leaves you wanting more (Sunday Times)

Incredibly satisfying and enjoyable: witty, mischievous, insightful, and, one occasion, elegiac ... A veritable masterclass in how it's done (Rachel Cooke, Observer)

She cuts, sparkles, is sometimes generous, never daunted, always full of verve ... Readers will love this pacy, absorbing book (Independent)

A hugely enjoyable read - the gold standard of professional prying (Evening Standard)

Book Description

A wonderfully frank and funny memoir of Britain's greatest and most ferocious interviewer, Lynn Barber

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm going to have to put my cards on the table here. I'm from the same generation as Lynn Barber; I've reached the stage in my life when I know what I like and I'm not going to do anything anymore that I don't like. Well, not if I can help it anyway. One of the things I certainly no longer enjoy is reading interviews with actors. You trudge through yards and yards of newsprint only to *discover* that, yes, they love to play 'challenging parts' and, yes, they 'can't wait to work with the director again' and, oh yes, they prefer to keep 'their personal lives private'. And just like that, another half-hour of your precious life has disappeared down the plug-hole.

One interviewer I always do read however, even when she's interviewing an actor, is of course the Demon Barber. And in this book we learn why her interviews always prove to be so interesting. Firstly, it's because she does her homework, spending a huge amount of time on research before the interview (so she won't ask the interviewee something they've been asked a hundred times before). She wastes not a second of precious interview time and refuses to do less than a one hour interview (she explains how nowadays even serious interviewers get trapped by the PR machine into flying half way round the world for a 15-minute slot with a star.) She always tapes her interviews (so perhaps 'a bouquet of wired barbs' would be a more accurate header) and spends at least a week writing them up.

This book contains the background to a selection of interviews, all of which make fascinating reading, even the ones where people I like or admire come off rather badly (Martin Clunes and Rafa Nadal). A Curious Career also updates the reader on Barber's terrific memoir An Education.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bit of a rip off. Feel that Lynn Barber has just hastily scribbled this rehash of some of her past interviews and added a few extra bitchy, retaliatory swipes. (It is also, by the way, a very thin book, printed with a large font and widely-spaced lines to pad it out.) Finished book feeling cheated. Having loved her 'An Education', I'm saddened to discover that, judging by the contents of this book, Lynn Barber is just a tad smug, bitter and - sorry - really quite shallow.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was publicised quite a lot in the media. Having read it I didn't find anything particularly surprising or earth shattering. The author seemed to dwell on Tracy Emin quite a lot, unnecessarily, I felt. Probably better bought from a charity shop.
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Format: Hardcover
An Education was witty and well written. "A Curious Career" is neither, It is merely a hotch-potch of Lynn Barber's already published interviews, hastily put together to make money from the success of An Education, both as book and film. Don't waste your money on this book. You will be disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be quite entertaining in a reading-the-colour-supplements kind of way, but it was hardly life-changing in terms of revelations about human nature, or celeb nature, unless you count Tracey Emin leaving used condoms on her sofa. Lynn Barber can also be very brash and abrasive, which made me wonder how much she projects her own issues onto the many interviewees she seems to loathe. She excuses her judgmentalism by saying that we are all judgmental when we meet people, but surely as a journalist broadcasting her views of someone to readers who will never meet that person she has a certain responsibility to make sure she is not being biased by, say, letting her own fragile ego get in the way? For example her contretemps with Martin Clunes is clearly about her own issues with actors (perhaps because of her experience of being scarred by a ‘conman’ as a teenager) - reading between the lines he seems affable, friendly, generous and reasonable whilst she is the one being touchy and spiky. Is she wilfully misunderstanding his point that the film industry and journalism are complementary industries? I nearly stopped reading the book at this point, but the second half was a bit more enjoyable, if forgettable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am an unashamed Barber fan. Devoted. Always have been. In fact, I have ended up being far more interested in her as a person than virtually all of the people she has interviewed. The moment I realised that it was true love and not just a passing infatuation was when I read her superb hatchet job on Marianne Faithfull - a truly brilliant piece of writing, This was ably supported by the Observer sub-editors who dreamed up some great catty lines to accompany the piece. The main line to the article was "As Years Go By". Wonderful.

In fact, I was so impressed that I emailed the Observer to thank all concerned and pass on my congratulations to the Demon herself. To my surprise, she responded, thanking me for my comments.. So I will not hear a word said against her.

This is a really interesting, well-written book. Buy it!
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By SilentSinger TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
I'd previously heard of Lynn Barber via her book and the subsequent film concerning her late schooldays entitled 'An Education' which led to me becoming aware of her excellent celebrity interviews in The Sunday Times Magazine. Tying into her appearance on BBC2's 'The Culture Show' I decided to begin reading this memoir straight afterwards and I'm so glad that I did. Pithily written as you'd expect, this book charts Barber's memories of past interviewees including such luminaries as Rafa Nadal, Martin Clunes and Robert Redford. Filled with huge insight and sarcastic wit about her subjects it provides a masterclass on how interviews should be carried out without of the usual brand of sycophantic style that many journalists seem to churn out these days. I was also interested to read how much preparation goes into the early stages of the process to ensure that Barber doesn't cover similar ground to previous interviews.

My only complaint that it was far too short, but I'll seek out the author's other titles as a result. Brilliant stuff.
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