In Unreliable Memoirs we meet a very young Clive James. One dressed in shorts. His hilarious adventures growing up in post-war Sydney are deliciously recounted in this, the first volume of his memoirs.
Next our hero sets sail for London where he hopes to find Success without compromising his ...more
The above are the few words I wrote when I read this many years ago. Clive is so highly regarded, I often feel I should give him another go, but he has always irritated me for some reason. What we used to call "too clever by half".
Now that he's just died, I'm sure there will be a new crop of readers, so I look forw ...more
I’ve summarised our discussion he ...more
The strength of the novel is Clive James's self deprecating humour, that has you cringing and laughing at the same time. He's fearless in recounting stories that anyone else would have happily oppressed and forgotten about.
I recommend this book to everyone I know and keep having to buy myself new copies because of the one's I give away.
Read it and enjoy. ...more
I found reading this paperback amazingly funny and, ...more
This time I started off with P.J. O’Rourke singing the praises of „Unreliable Memoirs“, which we‘re told is not only „every thinking persons’memoir“, „something new that no one has done before or will do again“ but „the best memoir in the world“ by „the best-read person he’s ever known“. (In order to find more things to praise, even the town name of Kogarah seem ...more
He writes well when his subject is not himself (haha, that seems like a mean remark considering this is a memoir, but his writing about the people around him, and his experiences, are what drew me on, not his introspec ...more
Covering James' early life, childhood, adolescence, university and national service it takes us up to the point at which James reaches England as ...more
In 2015 I wrote a short review of UNRELIABLE MEMOIRS:
Many years ago I remember being given this book for my birthday with the comment "thought you might like this, he's the sort of droll smart-arse commentator that should appeal to you". The presenter of this present knew me well, although I think that they did a massive disservice to Clive James.
The first of a series of books he's subsequently written as memoir there is nobody in these books that James picks on more than himself.
This time around the distance between his young - and my old(er) self seems a bigger bridge to traverse.
A good and well written account but with too many unfamiliar references for me.
Now I need to track down and read everything else he has written. ...more
From his early learning years James offers an account of himself as naturally gifted but inherently unenthusiastic. The selfishness of his relationship with his mother is viewed with ambivalent eyes - he did what he wanted, progressed with her support but seems to think he should h ...more
It can safely be assumed that any writer who gives you a record of his own life is nuts about himself.
It's a little strange to refer to these works as autobiographical when almost all of James's work features a cer ...more
This book was first published in 1980 and it does feel dated. It only covers the years up until he left Australia to go to the UK. It is chock full of anecdotes from his birthday until the end of his university years. Some ...more
No ghost writing here, it was as if Clive was reading his memior to me himself. Clive's dad died while returning home from WW2 and was raised an only child by his widowed mum. A colorful, entertaining,well written, sometimes wordy recount of growing up in post WW2 suburban Australia. I laughed out loud a few times and cringed out loud a lot. This memoir was first published in paperback in 1981 when Clive was 42 and in 2015 a beautifully written afte ...more