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Things I Didn't Know: A Memoir

by Robert Hughes

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1922126,197 (3.79)7
Robert Hughes has trained his critical eye on many major subjects, from the city of Barcelona to the history of his native Australia. Now he turns that eye inward, onto himself and the world that formed him. Hughes analyzes his experiences the way he might examine a Van Gogh or a Picasso. From his relationship with his stern and distant father to his Catholic upbringing and school years; and from his development as an artist, writer, and critic to his growing appreciation of art and his exhilaration at leaving Australia to discover a new life, Hughes' memoir is an extraordinary feat of exploration and celebration. "From the Trade Paperback edition."… (more)
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Wonderful writing, compelling and lucid details as usual from Hughes. He never has the most penetrating insights nor has he lived the most admirable existence, but he presents them in an extraordinary way. ( )
  scottapeshot | Mar 30, 2013 |
Robert Hughes is one of Australia's great expatriate curmudgeons, and for all his flaws he is a brilliant man and a compelling writer. This autobiography of Hughes' early life starts, oddly, with a chapter about his recent car accident in WA. He tells his side of that big media story as a tall-poppy assassination. I'm inclined to believe a good bit of it, as he doesn't whitewash his own foolishness in other areas.

But then it's back to the beginning of his life. There's family history, and plenty of lengthy digressions on history and culture and religion and the general state of the media and the nation.

Occasionally he shows how much he's lost touch with modern Australia, but mostly he's entertaining and challenging. It's good to be reminded of the narrowness of 1950s Australian culture - not at all the sentimental dream puffed up by the recent Liberal party. (And then it's extra odd that Hughes is an intimate of Malcolm Turnbull.) ( )
1 vote cajela | Jan 16, 2011 |
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Robert Hughes has trained his critical eye on many major subjects, from the city of Barcelona to the history of his native Australia. Now he turns that eye inward, onto himself and the world that formed him. Hughes analyzes his experiences the way he might examine a Van Gogh or a Picasso. From his relationship with his stern and distant father to his Catholic upbringing and school years; and from his development as an artist, writer, and critic to his growing appreciation of art and his exhilaration at leaving Australia to discover a new life, Hughes' memoir is an extraordinary feat of exploration and celebration. "From the Trade Paperback edition."

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