When he turned sixty-five, the playwright Simon Gray began to keep a 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 three volumes of The Smoking Diaries are 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. This beautiful boxed set contains paperbacks of The Smoking Diaries, The Smoking Diaries: The Year of the Jouncer and The Smoking Diaries: The Last Cigarette. With their combination of comedy and serious reflection, of sharp observation and painful self-disclosure, Simon Gray’s diaries have reinvented the memoir form and are destined to become classics of autobiography. The beauty of them lies in Gray’s struggle to put a finger on some kind of personal truth: The Smoking Diaries offer a brilliant and moving account of life’s unsteady progress – with unfailing wit and humour, they take us to the very heart of a man.