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The Goldberg Variations Hardcover – 6 Jan 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; 1st edition (6 Jan. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007118414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007118410
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.8 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,109,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Publisher

An impressive new voice, Mark Glanville writes with refreshing honesty, humour and a complete lack of sentimentality. The utterly opposing aspects of his life make for a sometimes controversial but always fascinating read.

From the Back Cover

The story of Mark Glanville’s journey from violently bullied Jewish boy (Goldberg is the real family name) at Pimlico comprehensive to Principal Bass with the Lisbon Opera via a period travelling the country as a member of the Cockney Reds, the notorious Manchester-United supporting hooligans.

Throughout all these vastly opposed phases and worlds, Glanville’s driving force is his search for self-knowledge. His homelife is overshadowed by the larger-than-life character of his famous father and his extensive philandering, his mother’s obsession with psychotherapy and hostile relationships with his siblings. He fights to defend his Jewishness at school, only to be told by his father that he has no right to call himself one. A bookish teenager Glanville is obsessed with jazz and opera but he spends his weekends with a group of hooligans who are unsure whether to accept him or beat him up because of his posh accent. Then reading Classics at Oxford (explaining his absence away to the Cockney Reds as a four-year prison sentence for manslaughter) he is simultaneously drawn to and repelled by the Oxbridge ‘society set’. The story of his struggle towards equilibrium, to learn from his own and his family’s mistakes, and to find his own identity, eventually re-embracing Judaism and music, is both gripping and inspiring.

An impressive new voice, Mark Glanville writes with refreshing honesty, humour and a complete lack of sentimentality. The utterly opposing aspects of his life make for a sometimes controversial but always fascinating read.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
More a search for an identity than simply a book about a bloke who becomes an opera singer after a life as a hooligan. It's hilariously self-deprecating, especially in matters sexual, and revealing about the apparently irreconcilable lives described in the book - to wit football hooligan, oxford classicist and opera singer. There probably aren't that many people around who could give you first-hand accounts of all those worlds. The writing style's terse and gripping (I read it at a single sitting.) Highly recommended.
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By A Customer on 21 Jan. 2003
Format: Hardcover
This extraordinarily honest and beautifully expressed memoir is an incredibly gripping read. This is Mr Glanville's first book and he shows himself to have a unique and gripping voice. He takes the reader through a real roller coaster of emotions on his journey of self discovery. This reader literally had tears rolling down her face at the hysterical sections concerning the authors family and sex lives! There are also some real eye openers about life at Oxford Uni, and on the operatic stage. Prepare to have all preconceptions shattered! As somebody who instantly falls asleep at the mention of Football, I was amazed by how gipping these sections were.The descriptions of life as 'hooligan' are fairly horrific and even stomach churning but as one enters the authors head it is impossible not to experience the thrill of tribal warfare with him....well, almost. This is a very male book, dealing with male issues of identity, masculinity and femininity which actually makes it a fascinating book for women too. Best new voice I've heard in a long long time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know how much of this book is biography and how much of it is artistic licence. The main point is too much of this biography seems to be too incredible to be true. The football thug come opera singer just doesn't hang together. A great disapointment for a book so well reviewed. If you want to read about footbal hooligans or nascent music careers there are better books about. A lot better.
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