Francis King

A Gift For Unhappiness

John Osborne


Chatto & Windus 495pp £20 order from our bookshop

In taking on the task of writing this authorised biography John Heilpern was at both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand, enjoying the cooperation of Helen Dawson, the talented journalist who became the last of John Osborne’s five wives, he had access to notebooks and private letters. On the other hand, he had to be candid about his subject’s frequently bizarre and brutal behaviour, without forfeiting the reader’s interest and sympathy. That he succeeds in that task is greatly to his credit.

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