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The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography Hardcover – 19 Jan 2012
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"This is, above all else, a thoughtful book. And namedroppy too, and funny . . . Its camaraderie of tone lets it wear its learning lightly yet leaves you with . . . new insights, new ways of looking at things."---"The Guardian"
"Funny, poignant . . . His prose feels like an ideal form of conversation."---"Washington Post"
""The Fry Chronicles" is so slickly charming it seems churlish to harrumph"---"Wall Street Journal"
"Mr. Fry is pitiless on the subject of his young self, but he's also wry and tender and hilarious."----WSJ.co
"Fry begins with an unnecessary apology for the ordinariness of his writing, and then proceeds to write masterfully, assessing himself with his signature blend of self-loathing and baffled amusement . . . The memoir stands as proof of the author's intelligence, wit, and insight."--"Entertainment Weekly "
"Stephen Fry's new volume of memoirs, "The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography" is a delightful account of the legendary British comedian/actor's years at Cambridge, and his first years in show business. Even his occasional overwriting is so quickly followed by witty self-deprecation that he never loses the reader's sympathy and interest. To read this book is to fall in love (perhaps not for the first time) with its subjects: one of the world's greatest universities, and the British comic tradition. Strongly recommended."---"National Review"
From the Inside Flap
Thirteen years ago, Moab is my Washpot, Stephen Fry's autobiography of his early years, was published to rave reviews and was a huge bestseller. In those thirteen years since, Stephen Fry has moved into a completely new stratosphere, both as a public figure, and a private man. Now he is not just a multi-award-winning comedian and actor, but also an author, director and presenter. In January 2010, he was awarded the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards.
Much loved by the public and his peers, Stephen Fry is one of the most influential cultural forces in the country. This dazzling memoir promises to be a courageously frank, honest and poignant read. It will detail some of the most turbulent and least well known years of his life with writing that will excite you, make you laugh uproariously, move you, inform you and, above all, surprise you.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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I have read this book shortly after reading Fry's autobiography of his first twenty years:Moab Is My Washpot. That was a 5+ star read, by comparison this I rate as meriting 4 stars. If I had not read Maob I would have given The Chronicles 5 stars.
Why the difference and diminution? Well, Maob, the best autobiography I have read, contains by quick turn side splitting humour and an onion peeling baring of Fry's inner workings, feelings and motivations. I thought it logical to assume that The Chronicles would be more of the same and this was what I was expecting.
Whilst it is true to say that there are many pages that do carry on this vein, there are also many others that simply recount Fry's early career in terms of how it all began, how he obtained work, what he worked on and who he worked with, etc. Of course this is interesting and indeed necessary because the autobiography has to tell us about how he spent these pivotal ten years of his life, but for me, what set Maob apart was Fry's brave, candid lifting off of his mask and assumed persona to reveal his true self. I found this absolutely fascinating and I admire and appreciate Fry's willingness to do this. It is simply that this book contains less of that.
I also found this book to be less funny.
Having said all of this, there is no question that this is anything but a highly engaging, entertaining, revealing, and at times, amusing read. (Of interest too is as account of how comedy developed in England in the 1980s.) There is much that is laid bare and consequently we do learn an awful lot more about Fry and I would not wish to deter anyone from reading his chronicles.
If you have not read Maob I strongly suggest that you read that first.
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