A Book of Memoir
An exceptional collection of memoir writing by some of the greatest writers in the world, from one of the greatest literary publications in the world. Meeting the Devil includes a preface from Alan Bennett and contributions from Edward Said, Hilary Mantel, Andrew O'Hagan, Lorna Sage, Frank Kermode, A. J. P. Taylor and Tariq Ali, among others.
Autobiography has been an essential element of the London Review of Books since its founding in 1979. This volume collects many outstanding pieces of memoir that first appeared in the LRB’s pages.
Here, Lorna Sage remembers growing up with her grandfather during the Second World War, Jenny Diski imagines her own burial, and Hilary Mantel tackles a strongman on her hospital bed. Julian Barnes writes about not getting the Booker Prize. Andrew O’Hagan confesses to his past as a schoolboy bully. A. J. P. Taylor hallucinates. Alan Bennett reports on the lady who lives in his drive. Tariq Ali relates his misadventures in Pyongyang. Anne Enright describes her obsession with Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cells grow in petri dishes around the world. Frank Kermode tells his wartime stories. Terry Castle recounts her complicated friendship with Susan Sontag. There are reports from poker tables and coal mines, and stories of double agents, online romance and stigmata.
With a preface by Alan Bennett, Meeting the Devil displays the range of power and delight possible in the study of self-portrait.
“This superb volume ... urges us to consider pain and loss, but also to remember to value experience and thought. The essay form, itself once thought dead and buried, is revived regularly in the London Review of Books and this welcome selection shows it strong in heart, pumping away and breathing well.”
“Standing out…are two fine studies of literary monsters. John Henry Jones’s piece on the poet and critic William Empson…[and] Terry Castle’s memoir of Susan Sontag…there are some terrific stories.”
John Walsh, Independent
“A glimpse inside the lives of bookish people … Emily Witt writes one of the best things ever about online dating”
“The best sheer quality writing of any magazine I know.”