The Smoking Diaries | Granta

  • Published: 01/11/2008
  • ISBN: 9781847080585
  • 138x20mm
  • 240 pages

The Smoking Diaries

Simon Gray

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.

[For The Smoking Diaries:] Simon Gray's The Smoking Diaries is one of the funniest books I have ever read in my life

Philip Hensher, Spectator

[For The Year of the Jouncer:] A great achievement, a terrific read, every page crammed with jokes, philosophical observations ... Volume III is keenly awaited

Lloyd Evans, Spectator

The Author

Simon Gray was born in 1936. He began his writing career with Colmain, the first of five novels published by Faber. He is the author of many plays for TV and radio and films, including After Pilkington, which won the Prix Italia, and the Emmy Award-winning Unnatural Pursuits. He wrote more than thirty stage plays, among them Butley and Otherwise Engaged, which both received Evening Standard Awards for Best Play, and The Late Middle Classes, winner of the Barclay’s Best Play Award. His plays Little Nell and Missing Dates were both broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and The Last Cigarette, which he adapted with Hugh Whitemore from The Smoking Diaries, premiered in March 2009. In 1991 he was the BAFTA Writer of the Year. His acclaimed works of non-fiction include An Unnatural Pursuit, How’s That for Telling ‘Em, Fat Lady? and, published by Granta, Fat Chance, Enter a Fox, The Smoking Diaries, The Year of the Jouncer and The Last Cigarette. He was appointed CBE in the 2005 New Year’s Honours for his services to drama and literature. Simon Gray died in August 2008.

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