Time to Be in Earnest : A Fragment of Autobiography
Time to Be in Earnest : A Fragment of Autobiography
Time to Be in Earnest : A Fragment of Autobiography
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Price: $0.01 FREE for Members
Type: eBook
Publisher: Knopf
Page Count: 288
Format: epub
Language: English
ISBN-10: 037541066X
ISBN-13: 9780375410666
User Rating: 4.3333 out of 5 Stars! (3 Votes)

Time to Be in Earnest : A Fragment of Autobiography pdf

P.D. James pdf

"At seventy-seven it is time to be in earnest," wrote Samuel Johnson, and bestselling crime writer P.D. James took this maxim as a challenge, setting out to record "one year that otherwise might be lost." The result is a fascinating and reflective account, part diary and part memoir, of one very full year of Baroness James's life, interspersed with her memories and intelligent analysis of "what it was like to be born two years after the end of the First World War and to live for seventy-eight years in this tumultuous century." P.D. James grew up in Cambridge, England, between the wars and worked in the home office of the forensic and criminal justice departments, which sparked her interest in that area, though she did not become a published novelist until 1962 with . She began to write full-time after her "retirement" in 1979, and along the way became a governor of the BBC before taking a seat in the House of Lords in 1991. Time to Be in Earnest is a lucid and penetrative work by one of the most influential figures currently involved with the arts in Britain. James reveals her vast scope for enjoyment, interest, and simply getting on with life (her husband, Connor White, died at the age of 44 in 1964 after years of mental illness), whether it be spending time with her children and grandchildren, musing on the hideous British architectural mistakes of the 1960s, or giving her view of the controversies continually surrounding the running of the BBC. At an age when many people would be considering slowing down, James seems constantly on the move, recording her day-to-day existence and her past with an alert and judicious eye. "I am sustained by the magnificent irrationality of faith," she states. "I inhabit a different body, but I can reach back over nearly 70 years and recognise her as myself. Then I walked in hope--and I do so still." --Catherine Taylor, Amazon.co.uk James's fans will eagerly devour every word of this insightful and witty account of a year in the life of the master mystery author In the diary she began on her 77th birthday, in August 1997, James comfortably segues from daily activities into reminiscences about her childhood, early forays into writing and her career as a civil servant in Britain. She also weighs in on a variety of subjects, including the movie Titanic (the "usual Hollywood anti-British bias" irritated her), the publishing industry (promising novels are "promoted, packaged, and sold like a new perfume") and London's Millennial Dome, which inspired her "Dome Pome" (which begins, "O Dome Gigantic, Dome immense/ Built in defiance of common sense"). James reveals herself to be proper, dignified and reserved, but she doesn't reveal much more: readers expecting a traditional diary or spilled secrets are bound to be dissatisfied, though they can't say they weren't warned; in her prologue, James announces that she'll neither rehash painful memories nor record "the events of every day." The painful memories no doubt relate to her late husband's long battle with mental illness, which she mentions often but never fully explores. It's just as well she sticks to the latter promise, for while many of her activities will interest a wide range of readers, there are times when her musings do little to contradict her claim that she is simply "an elderly grandmother who writes traditional English detective fiction." 16 pages of photos not seen by PW. 50,000 first printing. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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| 5 out of 5 Stars!

It has taken me over a year to fully appreciate this "fragment of autobiography". There are no strict rules for autobiography writers to follow, except that they talk about the themselves. P.D. James, the acclaimed British mystery writer, does that in her own, 'Time To Be In Earnest', and the reading experience is one which leaves a definite impression.

At first read-through, the book leaves one with a slight sense of having been cheated. Most celebrity autobiographies written in today's age wallow in over-exposure. We get to know what goes on in their minds, their businesses, their homes, even their bedrooms. Even when the subject is dead, and a *biography* is written, the author attempts to portray the person as emotionally as possible. With 'Time To Be In Earnest', Ms. James does not make us suffer through any of that. Her life story is told in a charming "daily (sometimes) journal", which reflects on the news of the day, and then nicely segues into memories of her past.

We get to know much about P.D. James's childhood, her parents, siblings, home-life, etc. She is purposefully vague about her marriage, but she *does* provide sufficient information about it that we get the idea. That is what is so elegant about her book - it is informative, without being messy. What I found *most* fascinating were her views on the world of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Some things I agreed with her on, some things I did not. But all of her 77 year-old ideas gave this particular 25 year-old much to think upon.

'Time To Be In Earnest' truly tracks the 77 years of not only a highly-successful British woman's life, but of the country itself, and of the world that has come, gone, and is here today. .

| 5 out of 5 Stars!

Time to Be in Earnest is a journal kept by mystery writer P.D. James beginning in 1997 and ending in late 1998. She does not confine herself just to events during these dates, instead recaling her life earlier. She writes of starting to write because she did not want to be a grandmother who said "I wanted to write a novel", the England she remembers after World War 1 and surviving World War ll. She recalls old friends, literary influences, historic events, infamous crimes of the British Isles. Also touched upon is the struggle of living with a husband with chrinic mental illness and the acceptance of being the support of her family. All this is conveyed in some of the most flowing and beautiful language I have ever read. The everyday is lifted up by the command of the English language and the observant eye of someone embracing life. A wonderful book, a joy to read.

| 3 out of 5 Stars!

As an avid fan of PD James's pyschological thrillers, I was looking forward to a good read from her "fragment of autobiography". Ms James wrote a memoir for one year - the year of her 77th birthday. It is both a daily diary and a reflection of the past - both personal and historic and has commentary on her writing and books. I found it mostly interesting, but at times very dry. Perhaps we are conditioned to expect too much in the way of personal anguish to be satisfied with bare bones, but I felt that was what we were mostly given. I would recommend it for Ms James'fans, but perhaps not more widely.

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