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The Price of Illusion: A Memoir Hardcover – 7 Mar 2017
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"Anybody could make a riveting life story of the events and rolodex of people in this book, but reading it, I was most reminded of James Salter's autobiography Burning the Days, the inquiry by a great writer into his own remarkable life. It is a moving, Bildungsroman-like account of the inner workings of fame and culture, houses built of cards, aspiration and loss, and a brave search for love. At once an unputdownable romp through sixty years of a world that no one will ever know better than Joan Juliet Buck, and a great literary accomplishment."--Peter Nichols, bestselling author of The Rocks
"One knows from the opening paragraph that one is in the presence of a truly original, and compelling, voice; and that the scope of the book to come will be both ravishingly large and, at the same time, rife with perfect, telling details."--Michael Cunningham, bestselling author of A Wild Swan and The Hours
"Joan Juliet Buck had lived a more brilliant, stranger, more glamorous, sadder, happier, richer, poorer life by the age of twenty-five than most of us do in three times that long and then she went right on living it and then she wrote it down. I'm a sucker for good, smart writing and this book is nothing but good, smart writing and great stories. Terrific stuff."--Salman Rushdie, bestselling author of Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
"Brimming over with voluptuous details, this is delicious writing--intelligent, provocative, ironic, and so compulsively readable I simply could not put it down."--Patricia Bosworth, New York Times bestselling author of Diane Arbus
"Ms. Buck has been everywhere, done everything -- the most delicious...pages I've read in months....sure to ravish the best-seller lists."--Liz Smith, NewYorkSocialDiary.com
About the Author
Joan Juliet Buck is an American novelist, critic, essayist, and editor. She served as editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris from 1994 to 2001. While a contributing editor to Vogue, Vanity Fair, Traveler, and The New Yorker, she wrote two novels, The Only Place to Be and Daughter of the Swan. Currently, she writes for W, Harper's Bazaar, and New York Times T Magazine.
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In the end, Buck is ousted from her job by a jealous colleague and forced to spend two months in a totally inappropriate rehab. Her re-evaluation of her Vogue life is one of the most important aspects of this book, and it is this to which the title alludes. She lived in illusions, fed other women with illusions through her magazine work, and is finally forced to see that she and they have paid too high a price for the "privilege".
What emerges is a valiant, undaunted spirit who still follows her dreams, but today those dreams are different, and she is a changed person.
I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading memoirs, anyone who's ever been temporarily seduced by the glamour of the fashion world, and - well - anyone who enjoys really excellent writing.
It has all the hallmarks of a life well lived, Ms Buck writes beautifully, touchingly on love, loss, family, travel, glamour, intrigue and professional and personal challenges, triumphs and losses.
Have already bought 5 copies for friends. I've also read Angelica Hustons two biographies and whilst the lifestyle/topics are similar, JJB's writing prowess outshines Ms Huston's star qualities.
Joan Juliet Buck was born Joan Buck (she added the "Juliet" later in life to separate herself from another author called "Joan Buck") to parents who'd have been at home in almost any mid-century drawing room comedy. Her father - Jules Buck - was a film producer and creative partner with actor Peter O'Toole. Her mother - Joyce Gates, nee Getz - was an actress who was featured in a few movies, but married Jules Buck and basically retired from public life to make a family with Jules. Joan, an only child, was born in the late 1940's and the family were ex-pats living the good life in London and Paris. The Bucks were very close with John Huston and his family and Jules and John worked together til a falling out separated them. Joan's life-time best friend is Anjelica Huston and she regarded Anjelica's mother, Ricki, as an almost second-mother.
As Joan grew up, she became a fashion writer and ended up as editor of "French Vogue". She also did some acting; most notably in "Julie and Julia". She had a brief marriage and many romances. She also recounts the ups-and-downs of her publishing career as well as the vapidity of the fashion world. Would the average reader like Joan Juliet's memoir? It's the picture of a world far away from most of us, who may have very little knowledge of the intricacies of such a life. But, at it's base, the memoir is about family, friends, and business. And those things - in their most elemental form - are interesting to most everybody. Buck's book is good reading
A devoted daughter indeed but ...
The fashion info discloses little new ground. And further highlights the pitfalls and ruthlessness of the Conde Nast magazine Empire, with its tough arrogant executives. A good read for fashion folk, and those entranced by the fantasy and brittle glamour of Vogue.
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