Francis King

His Own Favourite Number

My Lives

By

Bloomsbury 356pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

When Kingsley Amis was asked why he did not write an autobiography, he would reply that anyone who wished to know about his life and personality had only to read his novels. The same, one feels, might be claimed by Edmund White. Real-life people constantly pop up in his fiction, the most obtrusive being himself. So vaporous is the disguise that in his novel Caracole, for instance, his elegantly destructive depiction of Susan Sontag earned him the murderous hostility not merely of Sontag herself but also of her ever-devoted son. This book, therefore, contains no revelation to send one reeling with surprise. But it is full of the sort of mordant and voluptuous pleasures of which this supremely self-confident author has always been so generous a provider.

Sign Up to our newsletter

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

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,
    • 'We read from left to right and from start to finish. Or do we?' Stuart Hannabus considers the merits of reading i… ,
    • Domestic scandal, sexual abuse and serial killers are on the menu in April's crime round-up. revie… ,
    • What did Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, James Boswell and Edmund Burke all have in common? Clare Bucknell reveal… ,