Be warned: this does not make cheerful reading. Entertaining, yes, and funny enough at times to make you laugh aloud; but the general tone is depressing. Regrettably Noel Coward kept no diaries of the Twenties and Thirties – ‘the merry years’, as he calls them; his autobiography, Present Indicative, only reaches 1931 and he was working on a memoir, Past Conditional, to fill the gap when he died in 1973. These diaries, started tentatively in 1941, but written up fully from 1945, deal with the years when his theatrical career was in a steady decline, a decline that ended abruptly in the mid-Sixties with the ‘Coward Revival’ or, as he described it, ‘Dad’s Renaissance’. It was also the period when he lost faith in the future of England and indeed of Western Civilization as a whole – and when he felt that the Press, and the critics in particular, were engaged in a campaign against him. Not only did the newspapers attack his shows; they also accused him, when he took up residence abroad in 1955 for tax reasons, of deserting his country. He had never been on good terms with journalists, and during these years his attitude to them began to border on paranoia: ‘How they hate me, these little men.’
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
Part two of our summer crime roundup: @NJCooper_crime on new releases by @Marc_Elsberg, @SJ_Watson, @VictoriaReaderB, @jessbarryauthor, @pavesi_alex, @AlineTempleton and Lottie Moggach.
'This is a disturbing tale of cruelty and deception.'
In the first part of our July/August crime round-up, @NJCooper_crime reviews thrillers by @ClaireAllan, @MarkBillingham, @IsabelleGrey, @SabineDurrant, @davidgilmanuk, , @evecsmith & @OneNightStanzas.
Great essay by Seán Williams @WiggishHistory in @Lit_Review
A small country "may not have aircraft carriers or regiments of tanks. But guided by an unerring moral compass, it can triumph over even the most fearsomely armed opponent." https://twitter.com/WiggishHistory/status/1278425792385613835