Synopses & Reviews
“Nikos and I live together as lovers, as everyone knows, and we seem to be accepted because its known that we are lovers. In fact, we are, according to the law, criminals in our making love with each other, but it is as if the laws dont apply. It is as if all the conventions of sex and clothes and art and music and drink and drugs dont apply here in London . . .”
In the 1960s, strangers to their new city and from the different worlds of New York and Athens, David and Nikos embarked on a life together, a partnership that would endure for forty years. At a moment of “absolute respect for differences,” London offered a freedom in love unattainable in their previous homes. Friendships with Stephen and Natasha Spender, Francis Bacon, Sonia Orwell, W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, and David Hockney, and meetings with such Bloomsbury luminaries as E. M. Forster and Duncan Grant, and a developing friendship with Philip Roth living in London with Claire Bloom, opened up worlds within worlds; connections appeared to crisscross, invisibly, through the air, interconnecting everyone.
David Plante has kept a diary of his life for more than half a century. Both a deeply personal memoir and a fascinating and significant work of cultural history, this first volume spans his first twenty years in London, beginning in the mid-sixties, and pieces together fragments of diaries, notes, sketches, and drawings to reveal a beautiful, intimate portrait of a relationship and a luminous evocation of a world of writers, poets, artists, and thinkers.
Almost fifty years ago, the swinging London beckoned to misfits andartists (if that is not redundant) from all over the world. David Plante, a novelist--an an honorary Londoner for some years now--wasone of the people who followed that call. Luckily for us, he kept a diary of his immersion in the wonders of the City, and hisexperiences--both good and bad--of coming to terms with life in this city, undoubtedly one of the greatest cities on the planet. This bookworks on several levels: first, as a personal story of a young man coming to live in a new city with his lover, secondly, as a culturalhistory of London at the time, involving people such as Christopher Isherwood, W.H. Auden and Steven Runciman, and, of course, the authorhimself; and lastly, as a gorgeously written love poem to the city. It covers the twenty-year period beginning in the mid-sixties, andfaithfully chronicles the author's experiences in that time, both in London and elsewhere in Europe. But London is the central theme thatruns through the diary: the city as a presence that both gives out wonder and demands some sacrifices and accommodations in return; thisis a story of people and the city, and the ways in which they interpenetrate and change each other.Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
The first volume of National Book Award finalist David Plantes extraordinary diaries of a life lived among the artistic elite in 1960s London.
About the Author
David Plante is the author of nine novels and The Pure Lover, a memoir of grief on the death of Nikos Stangos, and has published stories, profiles, and features in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Esquire, and Vogue. The notebooks of his diary are kept in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. He has both UK and U.S. citizenship and lives in London; Lucca, Italy; and Athens, Greece.