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

    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,