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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

on 10 March 2017
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 May 2014
I loved this biography of the English writer and dandy, Julian Maclaren-Ross (1912-64). Maclaren-Ross is synonymous with the bohemian world of mid-twentieth-century Soho, and whilst this features extensively in this book, the biography offers plenty more besides. If you're interested in the literary history of the 1930 and 1940s, World War 2, and London (and specifically Soho), then I feel confident you'll enjoy this biography.

During his lifetime he appears to have produced a substantial and astonishingly diverse body of writing. He was usually motivated by a chronic lack of cash. Like many of his generation and class he enjoyed an affluent and comfortable middle-class Edwardian upbringing, only to discover the family money was gone by the 1930s. What money he made seemed to be spent almost immediately, frequently in Soho hostelries. The constant need for cash meant when he wasn't holding court in a pub he was writing. All of this made for a turbulent and interesting life. Paul Willetts describes him as a "mediocre caretaker of his own immense talent". That seems to sum up his self-destructive life.

I would add that this biography was a follow up to the five Patrick Hamilton novels and Patrick Hamilton biography that I completed before reading this book. This biography followed on beautifully, although I was disappointed to learn that the two never appear to have met.

After finishing this biography I was inspired to buy his "Memoirs of the Forties"; "Selected Stories"; and "Of Love And Hunger", all or which are splendid, and well worth reading.
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on 11 October 2016
A great insight into the truly bohemian life of a Soho and Fitzrovia writer. I've written a show tour of Soho called 'The London Literary Pub Crawl' and this book is giving me cause to go back to the original script!
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