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There and Then
Personal Terms VI
10% off all versions
Series: Personal Terms
Categories: 21st Century, American, Memoirs
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (216 pages)
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We had been instructed to start promptly at six, since the hall was needed again at eight. We pushed through the curtained doorway, like instrumentalists without instruments, and onto the stepped stage. The audience was still coming in. Uncertain of our running time, and with no one to introduce us, I thought we had better start. I got as far as ‘Byr– ’ when Alan decided he did indeed need his glasses. He delivered his rehearsed ad lib, claiming that his vanity was second only to Byron’s, and put on his specs.
It is July 1981, and Alan Bates succumbs to a fit of nerves as he and Frederic Raphael attempt to carry off an underrehearsed performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. This wry glimpse behind the scenes of the London literary scene sits, in Raphael’s notebooks, amid clear-eyed analysis of the riots and social unrest then erupting in Britain’s cities under Margaret Thatcher’s government. Compulsively readable, by turns mischievous and coruscating, this latest volume of Raphael’s reflections casts light on a period that saw the beginnings of a decisive shift in British and American culture. Along the way, there are finely incised pen-portraits of public figures ranging from Shirley Conran to Peter Sellers and from Robert Redford to Mary Whitehouse.
Praise for Frederic Raphael 'A hilarious and disillusioned page-turner.'
Peter Green, The TLS
'Against the Stream offers many insights into Raphael's "double life". An American who made his career in Britain. A Jew who went to Charterhouse and Cambridge. A Hollywood script-doctor who read Ancient Greek for fun. Vain, sharp-tongued, but the sort of truth-teller Britain needed then and needs now.'
David Herman, Standpoint
'In these notebooks, Raphael shows himself alert to every vanity but his own, a shortcoming that, far from repelling a reader, becomes part and parcel of the their fascination. He is one of those writers who most reveals himself in his acerbic anatomy of others.'
Anthony Quinn, Telegraph 'Aphoristic, lapidary and sumptuously reflective by turns, Personal Terms is a joy to read both for Raphael's prose and mental powers. It is a book of iridescent intelligence, seductive charm, urbane temper and unflagging delight - indeed a minor masterpiece.'
Times Literary Supplement
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