Lynn Barber is, by her own admission, ‘exceptionally nosy’. Still a working journalist at seventy, she sums up her storied career as ‘asking questions that other people wanted to know the answers to but were too embarrassed to ask’. While there’s perhaps not that much more to it, there are a few tricks to her trade, and she divulges these in a new book, a sharp-clawed amalgam of greatest-hit interviews, their outtakes and afterlives.
Unfortunately, A Curious Career masquerades as memoir, and as such is likely to disappoint. After a lifetime spent scrutinising others, memoir is not a form that comes easily to Barber, despite the fascination of her first foray, a 2003 Granta essay about a schoolgirl affair with a vastly older con