Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book review: Callow gets all luvvied up

This isn't exactly an autobiography, more an account of Callow's life illustrated by pieces he has written for newspapers and magazines (now do you get the joke in the title?). You could say that it's an innovative way to republish his journalism, or you might think it's a lazy way to knock out an autobiography. And you'd be right. Either way.

Callow's prose isn't quite fussy, but there is a sense of correctness in his style and worthiness in his treatment of his subjects. Still, I doubt that he is being dishonest: he loves the theatre and the people in it, and he has some amazing insights. He can be critical, but without sacrificing the affection and admiration he genuinely seems to feel for those he has met and worked with. His writing is good enough that you forgive the formality that makes some pieces - usually those on less interesting subjects - rather hard work.

My Life In Pieces will mostly appeal to theatre lovers, but even they might find it a bit long. Even so, there are some glorious moments and I'm glad to have it on my bookshelf. In the end, it's less of an autobiography and more like a professional memoir. Take that as a criticism or a recommendation, whichever works for you. link (US)

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