Are You Talking to Me? A Life Through the Movies by John Walsh - review by Frank McLynn

Frank McLynn

Film Buff Laid Bare

Are You Talking to Me? A Life Through the Movies


HarperCollins 312pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

There are three reasons, in ascending order of importance, why this is a priori my hnd of book. Like John Walsh, I had an Irish Catholic upbringing, complete with repression and multiple beatings with a whalebone strap for 'impertinence' - ie anything ranging from querying a piece of orthodox scholastic idiocy to looking sideways at a priest ('dumb insolence') - flom the Catholic clergy. Secondly, my schooldays took place a stone's throw from Mr Walsh's (in Surrey) and at one time I knew his home patch, Battersea, like the back of my hand, so that talk of Northcote Road Market and Lavender Hill has an almost Proustian effect. Thirdly, I share the author's love of movies and would heartily echo Gore Vidal's sentiments when he said that the silver screen had probably been his main source of intellectual delight.

It is with some sadness, then, that I confess to being disappointed by this book. Perhaps the fault lies with me, but I had expected something really great where this is merely good. Walsh interweaves movie talk - which is what I really wanted fiom him - with autobiographical reminiscences,

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

A Mirror - Westend

Follow Literary Review on Twitter