Synopses & Reviews
Hello Goodbye Hello
is a daisy chain of 101 fascinating true encounters, a book that has been hailed by reviewers in London as “howlingly funny” (The Spectator
), “original and a complete delight” (The Sunday Times
), and “rich and hugely enjoyable” (The Guardian
). Or, as the London Evening Standard
put it, “the truth and nothing but the plain, bonkers, howling truth . . . It is partly a huge karmic parlour game, partly a dance to the music of chaos—and only the genius of Craig Brown could have produced it.” Who could imagine such unlikely—but true— encounters as these:
Martha Graham meets Madonna
Igor Stravinsky meets Walt Disney
Frank Lloyd Wright meets Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe meets Nikita Khrushchev
President Richard Nixon meets Elvis Presley
Harpo Marx meets George Bernard Shaw
Cecil Beaton meets Mick Jagger
Salvador Dali meets Sigmund Freud
Groucho Marx meets T.S. Eliot
Brilliant in conception, Hello Goodbye Hello shows how the celebrated and gifted—like the rest of us— got along famously or disastrously or indifferently with one another, but, thanks to Craig Brown, always to our amusement and entertainment.
From an opening story in which Adolf Hitler survives being knocked down by a careless English driver in 1931 to the Duchess of Windsor’s meeting with the Führer over tea, and 99 others in between, Hello Goodbye Hello is the perfect example that truth is stranger than fiction (and infinitely more enjoyable).
"In this expansive game of 'six degrees,' British humorist Brown (The Lost Diaries) chronicles a loop of 101 remarkable celebrity meetings beginning and ending with Adolf Hitler. From the unexpected (Helen Keller and Martha Graham) to the legendary (Elvis Presley and Paul McCartney) or the strangely fitting (Groucho Marx and Charlie Chaplin), the stories unfold as succinct anecdotes, many notable for their bizarre context. Dozens of chance encounters, fast friendships, and dire rivalries are recounted in an informal yet informative manner, tying together oft-disparate threads of the 20th century through some of its most distinguished participants. With each story leading to the next (Leonard Cohen shares an elevator with Janis Joplin, who befriends Patti Smith, who had recently encountered Allen Ginsberg, and so on) it's easy to see this as popcorn reading, but it's impossible to stop with just one story. Brown also structures his gimmick by limiting each story to 1,001 words, though footnotes aplenty add more spice to the mix. Given the author's origins, it's not surprising there's a mild bias toward European notables some of whom might not be familiar to American audiences however, no character is too odd nor any encounter too trivial to be included. Entertaining, enlightening, shameless, and humorous: this collection sheds light on the life and times of some strange, wonderful, and notorious personalities. Agent: ZoÃ« Pagnamenta, Zoe Pagnamenta Agency. (Aug)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From “one of the funniest writers in Britain—wise, clever, hilarious, and a national treasure” (Helen Fielding, author of Bridget Jones’s Diary) comes this delightful book of “101 ingeniously linked encounters between the famous and the infamous” [The Observer (London) Best Books of the Year].
Can you imagine more unlikely meetings than these: Marilyn Monroe and Frank Lloyd Wright; Sergei Rachmaninoff and Harpo Marx; T. S. Eliot and Groucho Marx; Madonna and Martha Graham; Michael Jackson and Nancy Reagan; Tsar Nicholas II and Harry Houdini; Nikita Khrushchev and Marilyn Monroe? They all happened. Craig Brown tells the stories of 101 such bizarre encounters in this witty, original exploration into truth-is-stranger-than-fiction.
About the Author
Craig Brown has been writing the Private Eye celebrity diary since 1989 and is a columnist for London’s Daily Mail. He has also written parodies for many publications, including the Daily Telegraph, Vanity Fair, The Times, and The Guardian. The author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, he lives in London.