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The Smoking Diaries por Simon Gray
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The Smoking Diaries (original 2004; edição 2005)

por Simon Gray (Autor)

Séries: The Smoking Diaries (Volume 1)

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1865116,567 (3.33)9
A highly compelling memoir reflecting on a playwright's life, his thoughts, successes and weaknesses.
Título:The Smoking Diaries
Autores:Simon Gray (Autor)
Informação:Da Capo Press (2005), Edition: 1rst Caroll & Graf Edition, 2005, 240 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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The Smoking Diaries por Simon Gray (2004)

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Mostrando 5 de 5
Maybe it's all in the timing. I fully expected to like this, having liked him in both novel and play form. But I started this immediately after Waiting for the Barbarians, and the juxtaposition made it so painfully trite in the most unbearably bourgeois way that I was compelled to stop just a little way in.

Maybe I should leave it on the shelf for a few years and come back to it, but I'm pretty sure I don't have enough time in my bookreading life left. So it is getting the gong; may it find an appreciative reader in my local English church's booksale.

  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
This is the first in a series of diaries prolific British playwright and screenwriter Simon Gray began keeping when he turned 65. A smoker since early childhood, a cigarette was no doubt usually burning in his left hand as he transcribed, with his right hand on a canary yellow pad, his often rambling and sometimes rather unruly thoughts. This first diary begins with Gray’s learning of his friend Harold Pinter’s esophageal cancer. Not surprisingly, then, the book focuses on the indignities of aging, along with memories of early childhood, and personal and professional missteps along the way. (Gray had been an adulterer, an alcoholic, and profligate with his money.) I was most entertained by the early sections of the book in which Gray is on holiday in Barbadoes with his second wife, Victoria, and imagines all sorts of backstories for guests staying at the same hotel. There are some laugh-out-loud moments about the poetry of W.H. Auden—which Gray loathed for its sloppy language—and the need for a comprehensive book on piles (hemorrhoids) in history.

Gray’s musings are often unrestrained. Sentences can go on a half a page or more, joined by seemingly endless dashes. It is often difficult to follow the thread, and I found the play-by-plays of soccer and cricket matches (in particular) very tedious. This is a very “male” piece of writing—that is, many of Gray’s preoccupations, and certainly his perceptions of women, are likely to be more sympathetically received by a male audience. In general this book is one in which parts are better than the sum.

Gray died in 2008 of prostate cancer.

Rating: 2.5 ( )
  fountainoverflows | May 2, 2018 |
Enjoyable if sometimes meandering. His stylistic hesitations and changes sometimes a bit annoying. Overall, there's charm in the honesty and self-deprecation of a man who is clearly on his last legs, embracing his own destruction. Pinter looms as a kind of alter ego, a good friend but slightly remote because he's really dying. His financial ruin is the icing on the cake of physical decline, but he still manages to live well. Perhaps bing married to a Rothschild has its compensations. He was one of my favourite playwrights of the latter 20th C, but he's probably right that his name will fade; clearly not on a par with Pinter, and less lefty-right on than some of the stalwarts of the NT. ( )
  vguy | Nov 28, 2016 |
Great book to read if you're on the cusp of deciding to try to think about giving up the old weed yourself. Urbane and very British, this read is always interesting, and often very funny. ( )
  Dalan | Dec 31, 2010 |
This is just a really beautifully written and very funny memoir. A pleaure from cover to cover. ( )
  davidroche | Jan 29, 2008 |
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So here I am, two hours into my sixty-sixth year.
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A highly compelling memoir reflecting on a playwright's life, his thoughts, successes and weaknesses.

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