From New Year's Day 1995 to June 1996, Alec Guinness kept diaries in which he recorded not only day-to-day events, but also a range of memories, views and musings. Certain pre-occupations recur: theatre and film, books and paintings; the Church; food and drink and the delights of home and family. Friendship is also central to Sir Alec's life, and ...
From New Year's Day 1995 to June 1996, Alec Guinness kept diaries in which he recorded not only day-to-day events, but also a range of memories, views and musings. Certain pre-occupations recur: theatre and film, books and paintings; the Church; food and drink and the delights of home and family. Friendship is also central to Sir Alec's life, and his friendship with Alan Bennett, Jill Balcon, Lauren Bacall and Barry Humphries, among others, forms the backbone of these wonderfully amusing diaries.
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Publishers Weekly, 1997-06-02 In 1994, the editor of London's Sunday Telegraph asked the actor Sir Alec Guinness to keep a diary for a year or two. Collected here, the entries run from January 1995 to June 1996. For the most part, they're surprisingly ordinary, the pleasantly grumpy ruminations of an articulate and self-deprecating British retiree: haggling with British Rail over his senior citizen discount, playing the National Lottery (and winning ten quid), getting fitted for hearing aids, registering horror at the atrocities on the nightly news, watching films on the telly (Strictly Ballroom is a favorite). There are affectionate sketches of his dogs, rather too much about the weather and a few British references that are likely to befuddle American readers. But in nearly every entry there is a flash of wit or of the powers of observation that have made Guinness one of the great actors of the century (a lorry lying on its side resembles "some vast, incapacitated woodlouse"). There is little about his careeræthough it's clear he's sick to death of Star Warsæbut occasionally Guinness indulges his great gift as a theatrical raconteur, which made his 1985 memoir Blessings in Disguise such a delight, and his incidental thoughts on Shakespeare display a working actor's lifetime of experience. An undercurrent of melancholy runs throughout the book, as Guinness notes the deaths of lifelong friends, his wife's declining health and his own fading powers as a man and performer. The mix of wit, sentiment and quotidian detail makes for an engaging, if not very substantial, read. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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