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Dog Days In Soho: One Man's Adventures…

Dog Days In Soho: One Man's Adventures In Fifties Bohemia

by Nigel Richardson

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Having just read, and really enjoyed "Breakfast in Brighton" by Nigel Richardson, I went straight back in for a second book by the same author.

Nigel Richardson has imagined a fair amount of this biography of Josh Avery. This technique might not be to everyone's taste but for me works beautifully and is a legitimate way of trying to get to the essence of a biographical subject.

Who was Josh Avery? In a nutshell, he was the stepfather of one of Nigel Richardson's school friends. Richardson was fascinated by the anecdotes he told, many of which centred around the time he spent in London's Soho in the 1950s - an era when the area was renowned for its bohemian characters such as Francis Bacon, Henrietta Moraes, Muriel Belcher, Norman Bowler, Daniel Farson, John Deakin etc. Annoyingly for Nigel Richardson, Josh died shortly after Nigel had resolved to write a biography about him. Using this development to his advantage, Nigel Richardson drew upon a combination of research, interviews and imagination to get to the heart of Josh Avery and his time in Soho.

The book starts in thrall to Josh Avery and 1950s Soho, however as the story progresses, concurrently revealing elements of Nigel Richardson's own background and personal journey, the reader starts to see different aspects to the stories and characters, many of which are dark and disturbing.

I thought "Breakfast in Brighton" was magnificent. This is even better. I have a long standing fascination with London and in particular its twentieth century history, so, to an extent, I was alway likely to enjoy this book. That said, this book is much more than a biography. It both celebrates and debunks the romanticism that surrounds 1950s Soho and reveals some dark truths about sexuality, jealousy, creativity, revenge, status, reinvention, love, self-destruction, obsession, duty and the human condition. It's all here - it's a stunning book. ( )
  nigeyb | Oct 1, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 057540342X, Paperback)

Nigel Richardson first met Josh Avery when he was a boy, but it was only much later that he got to know him well. Richardson was fascinated by the anecdotes of Avery's life in and around the post-war Soho that included Daniel Farson, William Empson, George Barker, Henrietta Moraes, John Minton, and Francis Bacon. Richardson was never quite sure if the stories were true or not, but it seemed not to matter. In Dog Days in Soho Richardson has woven a life of Josh that might be true in every detail, or might not. Employing the same technique as in his highly acclaimed Breakfast in Brighton, he has produced a book which captures the essence of a time and a place now gone.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:50 -0400)

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