Bi­og­ra­phy and mem­oir

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

I WANT to men­tion sev­eral so I’ll have to be brief on each. JC Kan­nemeyer’s JM Coet­zee: A Life in Writ­ing is the first bi­og­ra­phy of the No­bel lau­re­ate who has lived in Ade­laide since 2002 and about whom we know next to noth­ing. (And the one yet-to-be-pub­lished book I’m go­ing to men­tion here is Coet­zee’s next novel, The Child­hood of Je­sus, due out from Text Pub­lish­ing in March.) DT Max’s Ev­ery Story is a Ghost Story is an in­sight­ful bi­og­ra­phy of a writer of stag­ger­ing ge­nius who we never really got to know, David Fos­ter Wal­lace. Artemis Cooper’s Pa­trick Leigh Fer­mor will be de­voured by devo­tees of the man widely con­sid­ered the great­est of all travel writ­ers. Fer­mor was the sort of writer who at­tracted pil­grims, many of them un­suc­cess­ful. Read­ing this book may be the next best thing to meet­ing him. Van­ished Years, the sec­ond in­stal­ment of mem­oirs from Bri­tish ac­tor Ru­pert Everett, is wicked fun, ideal for a few idle hours. Christo­pher Hitchens’s post­hu­mous Mor­tal­ity re­minds us why he was one of the great jour­nal­ists of our time, and one of the fun­ni­est. Sal­man Rushdie’s mem­oir of the fatwa years, Joseph An­ton, is es­sen­tial read­ing. The Richard Bur­ton Di­aries will en­thral fans of the leg­endary ac­tor, and at this time of the year many of us will re­late to the fre­quent di­ary en­tries that con­tain just one word: ‘‘ Booze’’.

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