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The Year Of the Jouncer Hardcover – Feb 28 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; 1 edition (Feb. 28 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862078963
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862078963
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 14.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 422 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,918,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"The funniest book I read this year was Simon Gray's The Smoking Diaries." -- Julian Barnes, Guardian Books of the Year

About the Author

Simon Gray (London) is the author of over 30 plays and has published several volumes of diaries and books about the theatre. The Smoking Diaries was shortlisted for the British Book Awards Biography of the Year, the Saga Award for Wit and the Ackerly Prize.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
Here I am, sitting at my table, pigeons hopping about in the sun, little birds with yellow chests settling on the rim of my fruit punch, in front of me the sea in Caribbean blue and green, and from it the occasional purr and cough of small boats, the roar of a speedboat, brief and violent, and behind me the clatter of waiters laying tables while they talk to each other in incomprehensible Bajan -everything very much as you hope it will be when you're in London during Christmas, longing to be here. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
Keeps on Smokin' Jan. 25 2011
By Patrick Odaniel - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the second volume of The Smoking Diaries wherein our author-cum-protagonist, Simon Gray, answers the eternal question: What is a jouncer? Nope, I'm not going to give it away. You'll just have to read this very funny book to find out. Also, you'll find out what it's like to have Harold Pinter direct a play (in this case, Gray's The Old Masters)and also learn interesting tips on how to write a play. Indeed, Gray has some fascinating observations about Shakespeare. Here's a sample:

How could I possibly conclude a play, after a long, too long, scene between the two main characters - a kind of clash-of-the-Titans scene - with an interminable scene between two minor characters, on whom I actually proposed to bring down the curtain, leaving the two major characters, the leading actors, in the dressing room, no doubt glumly hoping that the audience would remember them when they came on stage to take their bow? Only Shakespeare could get away with such slapdashery, and he wouldn't have spent months labouring over it. Perhaps that's another definition of genius. It doesn't waste time when doing things badly, it does them at the double.

And that's a good working definition for The Smoking Diaries as well: full of slapshdashery, written on the double, but still endlessly amusing.
Solid Gray Feb. 16 2011
By C. Robinson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Back in 1974, I saw the film "Butley," and it's still my favorite movie and the late great Sir Alan Bates is still my favorite actor. So I've seen and enjoyed many other Simon Gray plays since then. But Gray's memoirs are quite different--meandering, opinionated, whimsical, erudite, pulling the reader into his life (not always pleasantly) while grumbling and describing and reminiscing about London, the theatrical world, holidays, celebrities, and a myriad of other passing subjects and ideas. The backstory of "Butley" and the episodes with Bates and other actors are my favorite sections, but once one is caught up in Gray's life, it's all a long wild story. Whether it's ego or a belief that these memoirs would never see print, or just not giving a damn, Gray tells it like it is to the point of TMI, but one can't stop reading.

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