North Face of Soho (Unreliable Memoirs) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook
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Audio CD, Abridged, Audiobook
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"'His proses mixes together cleverness and clownishness, and achieves a fluency and a level of wit that makes his pages truly shimmer' Financial Times"
A fourth volume of memoirs from one of the UK's (and Australia's) best-loved personalitiesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
There is no evidence in this book that James misses those times, and overall he appears to think that he is well out of it. Readers will find that North Face is generally darker in tone than the earlier volumes in the series, which had an embarrassing tendency to leave one spluttering with laughter whilst travelling on public transport, but there are still plenty of eye widening episodes included. Some of these relate to the author's copious consumption of booze and cannabis, both of which he gave up completely during the period covered, and the extent of his addictive tendencies is surprising, given the discipline that seems to have powered his creative output over the years.
A theme of slowly acquiring a greater sense of responsibility runs through this book. It begins shortly after James's marriage, with children on the way, and the future wellbeing of the family depending on his contribution to household income. The earlier sections tell of an endless round of poorly paid freelance pieces and deadlines that James could only meet by working through the night.Read more ›
Although this installment follows on immediately from the end of the last one (where he was just about to leave Cambridge following his marriage), everything changes here. Being more an account of how he found his way into London's media scene (where he became preeminent), he's left out the self-deprecation, preferring to tell the story straight. Part of this appears to be a sharing of his experiences in an attempt to instruct any reader who has ideas about following in his footsteps.Read more ›
Here too are some wonderful apercus about the process of writing, and a passionate sense of how much it matters. The result is a celebration of the fun of bohemia and of the deep seriousness which must underpin it if the work is to get done.
The problem that the author has is that the launching of his undeniably successful media career is likely to be of far less interest to his readers than it so obviously is to himself. The first three books derived their humour from the pitfalls of growing up in the suburbs and overcoming the gaucheness and pretensions of early adulthood, topics we can all relate to in some way.
The current book deals at inordinate length with the details of freelance contracts, negotiating a salary increase at the Observer and the rather inane accoutrements of the jobbing journalist - which doubtless induces a shiver of recognition in struggling freelancers but remains superfluous in terms of riveting biography. It is hard to see how we are supposed to interpret these vignettes apart from the fact that they are entirely self-congratulatory.
The same goes for the long passages about having lunch with Christopher Hitchens and Martin Amis. Despite the fact that Christopher Hitchens has had an awful lot of lunches with many people of interest, the buyers of this book are unlikely to be among them. The most revealingly comment on the "London Literary Society" lunch club, as Mr James dubs them, is that few, if any of them, have produced anything of note in years and Christopher Hitchens has become the cell block punk for the neo-conservatives in Washington.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is not the best Clive James - his earlier memoirs had more sparkle. Still, like anything James writes, it is worthwhile.Published 5 months ago by James Robertson
Beautiful and searingly honest. The most moving of all the stories was his visit to his father's grave in Hong Kong - the first time he had visited and he was already ten years'... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Adrian Webber
I started reading this on the way home from London to Cornwall, I laughed so much the journey flew.Published on 4 Aug. 2014 by JaneinCornwall
Clive James' autobiographies are funny, insightful, silly and refreshing. I've read all of them but often while on the train, a real hazard as I end up loudly snorting with... Read morePublished on 29 Dec. 2013 by Sj79
In very good condition, this book is well produced, the writing a delight.....hope to add to my collection of Clive James' writing when I am able.Published on 12 Nov. 2013 by Heather Turner
I have read the three previous volumes of Clive James's autobiography, and "Unreliable Memoirs" remains as one of my very favourite books. Read morePublished on 4 Sept. 2013 by hiljean