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Untold Stories

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RRP: £20.00, <a href ="http://www.thebookplace.com/bookplace/spring2005.asp?CID=BGO733" TARGET="_blank">The Book Pl@ce</a> Price: £20.00

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"Untold Stories" is Alan Bennett's first collection of prose since "Writing Home" and takes in all his major writings over the last ten years. The title piece is a poignant family memoir with an account of the marriage of his parents, the lives and deaths of his aunts and the uncovering of a long-held family secret. Also included are his much celebrated diaries for the years 1996 to 2004, as well as essays, reviews, lectures and reminiscences ranging from childhood trips to the local cinema and a tour around Leeds Art Gallery to reflections on writing, honours and his Westminster Abbey eulogy for Thora Hird. At times heartrending and at others extremely funny, "Untold Stories" is a matchless and unforgettable anthology.

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A marvellously thick book for Bennett lovers (and who isn't, I wonder), this autobiography is a mirror image of the man we know as Bennett-the-writer and gives insight into Bennett-the man. Shy, modest, introspective, eccentric and interested in all the arts, Bennett takes us back to his Leeds grammar school, his Oxford days, his wartime childhood and his encounters with the good and the great. Then come the diaries, 1996-2004, pervaded with melancholy, shocked and suitably chastened by the modern scene in art, literature and social mores. A beautiful book; you can dip into it anywhere and find a chord that chimes with your own.

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Got this as an audiobook last Christmas (?) or maybe the one before.

It's a book that works better on the ear, for me, as I automatically read Bennett's writing in his voice anyway.

I have put it in iTunes, this very week, preparatory to transferring it to my iPod.

I'll enjoy that much more than having non-stop music in my head ;)

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I used to do the same thing with Garrison Keillor, too, but it's been quite a while since I heard, or read, him so I may have 'lost' his voice.


Record some Honda car ads, meg :P .


I believe a new Lake Wobegon novel is imminent.

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