Contents: to e-mail us: buy us books! Gray died in 2008 of prostate cancer. Often, all his themes bleed into one another; his prose is a wonderful torrent of thoughts, asides, rhetorical questions and digressions, and he cultivates a deliberate curmudgeonliness as if in recognition that old men are both comic and tragic figures. When autumn comes around, their son Albie will leave for college. Why did he leave the bedside of his dying mother? I have a high tolerance for morbid thoughts and self-deprecating humour and thinly disguised self-loathing. On the other hand I don't really mind. Will his name be in lights on Broadway? I was skeptical at first of the written-on-a-legal-pad-on-the-fly-with-essentially-no-editing aspect of it, but it works. Few diarists have ever been so frank about themselves and even fewer so entertaining.
During a holiday with his wife in Crete, the celebrated diarist and playwright Simon Gray recalls the scans and consultations that have dominated the previous months in this frank, moving, and often painfully funny account of what Gray refers to as the beginning of my dying. Wonderfully comic depictions of the medical team are interrupted by unforgettable portraits of fellow tourists, digressions on everything from crimes of passion to a brief history of his athletic career, and a masterfully tense distraction, composed while waiting for his final prognosis - and smoking one last cigarette. Will he, sometime soon, be able to leave his house without nervously feeling for his two packets of 20 and his two lighters, and add no more singes to his cardigan? Will he, sometime soon, be able to leave his house without nervously feeling for his two packets of 20 and his two lighters, and add no more singes to his cardigan? Gray turns his close friend Harold Pinter's ultimately fatal struggle with Not really a diary, not really a memoir; more like the off-the-cuff regrets and rambles of a man of a certain age. Wonderfully comic depictions of the medical team are interrupted by unforgettable portraits of fellow tourists, digressions on everything from crimes of passion to a brief history of his athletic career, and a masterfully tense distraction, composed while waiting for his final prognosis - and smoking one last cigarette. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold, who is determined to avenge a death. But even that's not quite right.
The humour is direct and in some instances quite touching, and no-one is spared the target of his humourous intentions, though I found some of his personal history notes a little too much of the confessional in nature rather than of an insightful exploration or explanation. Can he kick the habit of sixty years? It is all most encouraging to those of us who are getting on a bit. Why did he leave the bedside of his dying mother? The books are often very funny, laugh out loud so really rare, it seems to me but the best part is, that is, the reason they're so funny, is that they're not setting out to be funny and clever. Why did he leave the bedside of his dying mother? Read the three volumes of the Smoking Diaries over a week--a wonderful introduction, for me, to Gray. When he turned sixty-five, the acclaimed playwright Simon Gray began to keep this diary: not a careful honing of the day's events with a view to posterity but an account of his thoughts as he had them, honestly, turbulently, digressively expressed.
It still fills up two boxes in the garage. Yet its apparent haphazard form remains psychologically sound and graciously unaffected. Connie has decided to leave soon after. 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. What else is writing, anyway? Some years back I would have minded.
Can he kick the habit of 60 years? I fully expected to like this, having liked him in both novel and play form. Gray jumps aboard every train of thought, chases down ever hare he starts, wanders down every nostalgic byway until the trail peters out; but however far Gray strays from the point, however roundabout and self-indulgent he gets, the propulsive force of his anger keeps you reading. If he hasn't quite mellowed with age there's a sharp bite to a lot of the writing , he's, by and large, comfortable with his existence even if it's less than ideal : I'm overdrawn at the bank, in debt all over the place, have pretty well no income. I look forward now to reading his plays and other memoirs. If you want to be charmed and float between beautifully wry and witty situations in which we all find ourselves then this is well worth a read in my mind. The Smoking Diaries is a gorgeous black comedy whose effect is to make the reader long for one dinner in the author's company, but to accept the book as the next best thing.
Darkly comic depictions of the medical team are set against joyful accounts of sunlit days with his beloved wife, Victoria. One other note about this book: it was once owned by Mike Leigh the English writer and director. I look forward now to reading his plays and other memoirs. The success of the book is in its tone: Gray is irascible, on occasion, but also generally at ease. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. When he turned 65, the playwright Simon Gray began to keep a diary: not a careful honing of the days' events with a view to posterity but an account of his thoughts as he had them, honestly, turbulently, digressively expressed.
The Smoking Diaries is funny and touching, a nice summing-up of a life, not focussed tediously on biographical detail but still tremendously revealing. 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. You might not think it possible to generate suspense in a book like this, but he does it all the same. Not really a diary, not really a memoir; more like the off-the-cuff regrets and rambles of a man of a certain age. He got really sick of Simon Gray.
The contrast with his descriptions of a fairly comfortable day-to-day life -- holidays abroad, odds and ends back in England -- is effective; a general satisfaction always interrupted by minor and major annoyances. With their combination of comedy and serious reflection, of sharp observation and painful self-disclosure, Simon Gray's diaries reinvented the memoir form and are destined to become classics of autobiography. Surely the two facts are not unconnected. Like his previous best seller, The Smoking Diaries, The Year of the Jouncer has the rare ability to make you laugh aloud one moment and ponder the sad mysteries of mortality the next - and sometimes to do both at the same time. I used to keep a rambling diary for many years. .