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Writing Home by Alan Bennett

Writing Home (1994)

by Alan Bennett

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I know I'm not going to be popular with this, seeing as Alan Bennett is considered a National Treasure, but I didn't get on with this book at all. Where other reviewers have praised his wry observations I could only find tedium. I repeatedly told myself that I was missing something and persevered until the end of The Lady in the Van (page 130) but then resignedly gave up, not able to face the rest of the 612 pages. I did smile occasionally at his wit and sense of humour but I'm afraid it's not enough to save the book. I've taken it off the shelf repeatedly but felt the same every time, so I think it's time to let it go. ( )
  passion4reading | Jul 16, 2012 |
A readable, intelligent and often funny collection. Alan Bennett comes across as utterly honest, to us as well as to himself. ( )
  janglen | Nov 29, 2010 |
A book full of scraps and tid-bits that nobody in their serious mind should attempt to read, let alone buy. Supposedly, most of these 'occasional pieces' were once published or unpublished. Much of it is either very boring or of inimitably little interest. The Diaries, for examples, tell us nothing whatsoever, as with most other pieces. Personally, I most enjoyed two reviews, about Auden and Kafka, although the one about Kafka was too long and lost my interest towards the end, where the author strayed and became more preoccupied with himself (again).

It took me an incredibly long time to finish this tome (of 630+ pages), and I feel I wasted a lot of time reading it.

I would advise anyone to take it from a library and read only those parts which have your particular interest, rather than attempt to swallow the whole book. ( )
  edwinbcn | Jun 19, 2010 |
Alan Bennett is one of the great writers/playwrights to emerge out of 20th Century Britain.

Writing Home is a collection of thoughts, observations. and recollections. The true account of his encounter with The Lady in the Van is quintessential Bennett.

Bennett is the author of the astonishing one-person plays "Talking Heads". His funny, shrewd, unsentimental, and always poignant and compassionate observations of human faults are painfully familiar and uncompromising.

As I wrote in a review of these plays on Amazon some years ago: So revered is this man and his writings that he is sometimes called England's National Teddy Bear. But don't be fooled by that gentle moniker: this teddy bear has teeth and claws he keeps only barely, if you'll pardon an unintended pun, retracted. ( )
  starlightink | Apr 6, 2008 |
Wonderful mix of diary, memoir and essays. Funny and wise. Read it. The greatest living Yorkshireman? ( )
  sas | Aug 12, 2006 |
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"What you want to be," Mam said to my brother and me, "is gentleman farmers. They earn up to 10 pounds a week."
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An overlong mix
Of thoughts, observations and
Recollections: dull!

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312422571, Paperback)

Bringing together the hilarious, revealing, and lucidly intelligent writing of one of England’s best known literary figures, Writing Home includes the journalism, book and theater reviews, and diaries of Alan Bennett, as well as “The Lady in the Van,” his unforgettable account of Miss Shepherd, a London eccentric who lived in a van in Bennett’s garden for more than twenty years. This revised and updated edition includes new material from the author, including more recent diaries and his introduction to his Oscar-nominated screenplay for The Madness of King George. A chronicle of one of the most important literary careers of the twentieth century, Writing Home is a classic history of a life in letters.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:23 -0400)

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