Falling Towards England : Unreliable Memoirs II Paperback – 7 Nov 2008
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‘Unreliable Memoirs’ part two: the story continues.
About the Author
Clive James is the author of more than thirty books. As well as his memoirs, he has published essays, literary and television criticism, travel writing, verse and novels. As a television performer he has appeared regularly for both the BBC and ITV, most notably as writer and presenter of the Postcard series of travel documentaries. He helped to found the independent television production company Watchmaker and the Internet enterprise Welcome Stranger, one of whose offshoots is a multimedia personal website, www.clivejames.com. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature.
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Top Customer Reviews
His greatest strength and his main weakness are one and the same thing. He produces some brilliant one-liners, but so many of them, and so similar in style, that they become just a little wearisome over the length of even a shortish book. I became familiar with him first as the BBC film pundit and then as the television critic of The Observer on Sundays. Within the scale of a half-hour programme or a Sunday review he was absolutely unsurpassable for wit and originality. He did various other tv programmes over the years, and I remember in particular a series on a tour he had made in eastern Europe, at the time still the Evil Empire of fond memory. There was a clip of a rock band consisting of various balding 40ish gents in dull suits, on which James commented in his flat Australian accent 'They don't just look like secret policemen, they sing like secret policemen'. Does that have you rolling in the aisles? It did me. It still does, and this book rarely goes two pages in succession without something of the kind. As a writer of English he is a consummate workman on his own terms. The tone is studiously light and informal, but the expression is never careless or cheap. Indeed his other fault as a stylist is a kind of demotic pretentiousness. The relaxed and plain-Joe paragraphs are liberally larded with obscure literary and cultural allusions, and it would serve him right if some readers find this patronising. What do you make of a chapter-heading 'Solvitur acris James', for instance?Read more ›
One view (which includes, perhaps, his) of this story would end up querying whether he was really grown-up at all, as he tries his hand at one stop-gap job after another, including wine merchant, librarian, sheet-metal worker and publisher's assistant. Each unsuccessful stint is described in his usual self-deprecating style, along with his parallel experience of unsuitable accommodation (including a spell sleeping in a large brown paper bag). His finely-honed style makes a catalogue of disasters look entertaining, and he does the same for his descriptions of his friends Bruce Beresford and Barry Humphries (disguised here as 'Dave Dalziel' and 'Bruce Jennings' respectively), and the trips he took to Italy where his girlfriend - and later wife - Prue Shaw (who's called 'Francoise' here) was researching early Italian literature.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written, with much wit and insight as to what makes a "pom" tick or not tick as the case maybe.
Wonderful full description of London life in the swinging 60's .
Having greatly enjoyed the first 2 books in the Unreliable Memoirs collection as well as the more sedate but superb Cultural Amnesia I'm tempted to even try one of the mans poetry... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Michael Turley
This is a book I have bought many times over the last 20 or so years, I read it, laugh out loud and pass it on to someone else. Read morePublished on 11 Sept. 2013 by Wendy L
Reflections by James on his time as a not very likeable young Aussie scrutinising London of the early sixties. You can hear the James voice but it becomes surprisingly wearing.Published on 28 Jun. 2013 by David Hawkins