In this, the third installment of his memoirs, John Mortimer, best known as the creator of the Rumpole stories, describes what it is like to be seventy-seven years old but to feel like an eleven-year-old at heart. Though he suffers from the afflictions with which his father contended-asthma, glaucoma-and has added some of his own, he continues to live with boundless energy, passion, and humor. While most people his age are in full retirement, Mortimer is still motoring through life-traveling to Edinburgh with a substitute wife, lunching with prisoners, and dealing with common politicians. Wherever he goes-London, Tuscany, Morocco-Mortimer embraces life and work with enthusiasm, revealing himself as one of the most astute and generous figures of his generation.
"If Mortimer is a dormouse, he is definitely a mouse that roars." (San Francisco Chronicle )
"Mortimer is an entertainer, yet his book addresses serious themes, declines at all turns to condescend to the reader, is written with grace and humor, and manages unfailingly to amuse." (The Washington Post Book World)
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John Mortimer is a playwright, novelist, and former practicing barrister who has written many film scripts as well as stage, radio, and television plays, the Rumpole plays, for which he received the British Academy Writer of the Year Award, and the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. He is the author of twelve collections of Rumpole stories and three acclaimed volumes of autobiography.From Publishers Weekly:
Mortimer, a retired barrister and creator of Rumpole, retains his high good humor in this third charming autobiographical volume (whose title comes from Byron's Journals), even if, as he confesses at the start, he's reached an age when he can no longer put on his socks. ("The situation is, in minor ways, humiliating and comical.") A superb raconteur, the author never forgets that his first duty is to entertain. In a series of short, conversational chapters, which proceed in an artfully haphazard way to cover recent experiences (such as selecting a coat of arms) as well as childhood memories (mainly of his blind father, a judge), he recounts one amusing anecdote after another. These can be racy, as in the priceless transcript of a lurid sex case tried with straight face before the very proper House of Lords. More serious concerns such as prison reform are also in evidence. Mortimer chronicles his involvement in various good causes, from saving London's Royal Court Theatre to finding a suitable statue to top a vacant plinth in Trafalgar Square. A visit to his dying first wife, Penelope, is especially poignant. Travel filmmaking with Franco Zeffirelli in Italy, dealing with panhandlers in New York also receives his humane and humorous attention. By the end, Mortimer makes it clear that, despite his infirmities, he has not lost his zest for life. This is a most civilized and witty book by a most civilized and witty man.
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