Synopses & Reviews
When he turned sixty-five, the acclaimed playwright Simon Gray began to keep this diary: not a careful honing of the day's events with a view to posterity but an account of his thoughts as he had them, honestly, turbulently, digressively expressed. The Smoking Diaries is the result, in which one of Britain's most amusing and original writers reflects on a life filled with cigarettes (continuing), alcohol (stopped), several triumphs and many more disasters, shame, adultery, friendship, and love. Few diarists have been as frank about themselves, and even fewer as entertaining. "So here I am, two hours into my sixty-sixth year.... The truth is that I'm nastier than I used to be back when back when I was sixty-four, for instance, when I was nastier than when I was at sixty-two and so forth, back and back, always the less nasty the further back, until I get to the age when I was pre-nasty, at least consciously, when the only shame I knew was the shame of being found out, which was when I was, well, about eight, I suppose."
"About to celebrate his 66th birthday, Gray, the British author of more than 30 plays, including the forthcoming Broadway revival of Butley (which will star Nathan Lane), started writing this witty journal of passing time, missed opportunities and his personality quirks, with the underlying topic of his smoking three packs of cigarettes daily and the wheezing and dizziness that accompany his habit. He traces his romance with tobacco to the incessant smoking of his overaffectionate Mummy and emotionally distant Daddy, and to his savvy 1940s and '50s childhood spent as part of a girl-run kiddie gang in Montreal. Gray's funny vignettes introduce characters such as Mr. and Mrs. Alzheimer (he suffers from the disease; she, therefore, is an 'Alzheimer widow'), and 'schoolmaster floggers' Mr. Brown and Mr. Burn. While somberly noting the demise of his parents and several friends from smoking-relating cancer and emphysema, Gray keeps up a constant comedy routine about the British literary world, his claustrophobia in cars and trains, the TV series Law and Order and other random subjects. His memoir is a dark comedy, full of intimacy, limericks, wisdom and fun. Photos. Agent, Angela Rose/Granta. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A scathingly true and funny new memoir from the acclaimed author of Butley , the classic play Nathan Lane will be bringing to Broadway in fall 2005.