Playing for Time Paperback – 18 Sep 2009
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About the Author
Jeremy Lewis worked for many years in publishing after leaving Trinity College, Dublin, in 1965. He was a director of Chatto & Windus for ten years, and the deputy editor of the London Magazine from 1990 to 1994. A freelance writer and editor since 1989, he has been the commissioning editor of the Oldie since 1997, and the editor-at-large of the Literary Review since 2004. He has written two volumes of autobiography - Playing for Time and Kindred Spirits (both now available in Faber Finds'), and a third, Grub Street Irregular was published in 2008. He has written biographies of Cyril Connolly, Tobias Smollett and Allen Lane, and a book about the Greene family - Graham Greene's siblings and first cousins - Shades of Greene.
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Top Customer Reviews
To put it bluntly, Lewis writes badly about a life barely worth recording. The theme is basically the aimlessness of student life and his chronic indecision about his future career.
Stylistically, it is deeply irritating because it is stuffed with superfluities that seem to be there for no other purpose than to maintain the repetitive roll of his rather childish prose. At times I felt myself suffocating under an avalanche of adjectives.
Another annoyance is his truly horrible London suburban snobbery, a routine dismissal of anything he perceives to be provincial or lower middle class.
Having ordered three of his books in one go, I felt financially obliged to move on to his second volume in the series, Kindred Spirits, in spite of the disappointments of the first. This, I have to say, is much better, offering many interesting insights into the book publishing business in a vastly improved prose style. I think someone must have had a word in his ear. On the strength of Kindred Spirits, I shall proceed to Grub Street Irregular, the third volume of his memoirs.
One thing I will say about the author: his insufferable snobbery is accompanied by a quite extraordinary level of self-deprecation, which I suppose is quite appealing in its way, though one wonders whether it's not just another middle class affectation.
I'll report back when I've finished the third book.