Monday, January 05, 2009

book review - A Cab at the Door

Memoirs and biography in general are not things that usually draw me and it was with a sense of having paid for it and now having to read it that I picked up this book. Beautifully produced and printed by Slighty Foxed magazine the story of his youth by V.S Prichett is delivered in a well crafted tome.

Inside the pages the story emerges of a boy becoming a man living under the dual influences of his ambitious father and rather intimidated, but within the home aggressive, mother. The story of his life is one of constant movement - The Cab at the Door – as creditors catch up with his father.

But in the home it is the mother who exerts the influence and manages to help develop a boy that has ambitions to become a writer and use his talent not just to escape from poverty but also to give himself choices.

Things settle down a bit when the family moves near Dulwich and the teenage years begin but after being pulled out of school and sent to work the dreams of academic and literary success fade dramatically.

The reason why the book works though is that there is another character in the shape of London and the City emerges as Pritchett goes to work as a dirty fog filled inspiration. The glimpses of the capital as it prepares for war in 1914 and the details of working life are things that maybe you didn’t expect to find among the personal but are really interesting.

Plus the other reason for taking away an upbeat message is that despite the difficulties he faced and the moments when he almost gave up hope of being a writer he obviously did make it and that is something for us with creative ambitions to take note of.


Michael Quicke said...

Happy new year to you, Simon. Congratulations on your continued blogging and the interesting way in which you open up such a wide variety of books.

Talking about writers, Philip Roth apparently said: "Amateurs wait for inspiration, while great writers just get up and go to work." You certainly blaze the daily trail!

Happy New Year!

Simon Quicke said...

Thanks and Happy New year to you and good luck with your blogging in 2009.