This title is part of Robert Yeo’s First Editions, it was published in 1987.
This is the first volume of Anthony Burgess’s projected two-volume autobiography. Complete in itself, in the way that a novel is complete, it tells the story of a disaffected Manchester Catholic from his birth in 1917 up to the commencement, in 1959, of his career as a professional writer.
Born Jack Wilson, the son of Catholic Irish and Lancashire parents, Burgess grew up in one of the toughest areas of Manchester between the wars. His childhood in his stepmother’s rowdy slummy pub, and later in a tobacconist’s shop and an off-licence in the more respectable suburb of Moss Side, offered little in the way of love, though later, in the attic bedroom he shared with a succession of putative maids, he was precociously initiated into the physical side of it.
The book deals with its author’s burgeoning awareness of an artistic talent which for a long time could not find its proper outlet: should he be a cartoonist, a composer, a pianist, a poet? It deals also with an unending struggle to reconcile a Catholic conscience with the prematurely discovered pleasures of sex. It also details the long tempestuous relationship with his Welsh first wife, Lynne, who believed too much in ‘free love’, an army career more comic than heroic, and his years as an education officer in Malaya and Borneo. It was in the tropics at the age of thirty-seven, his marriage in trouble, his wife's health and his own in decline as heavy drinking, infidelity and despair took their toll, that Burgess began to write the first of the novels which would gain him fame if not money.ISBN: 0434098191
Cover Type: Hardcover
Page Count: 416
Year Published: 1987