Biography and memoir
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’’.