Untold Stories is the wonderful sequel to Alan Bennett's classic Writing Home.
Alan Bennett first appeared on the stage in 1960 as one of the authors and performers of the revue 'Beyond the Fringe'. His stage plays include Forty Years On, Getting On, Habeas Corpus, The Old Country and The Lady in the Van, and he has written many television plays, notably A Day Out, Sunset Across the Bay, A Woman of No Importance and the series of monologues Talking Heads. An adaptation of his television play, An Englishman Abroad, was paired with A Question of Attribution in the double-bill Single Spies, first produced at the National Theatre in 1988. This was followed in 1990 by his adaptation of The Wind in the Willows and in 1991 by The Madness of George III. Alan Bennett is the author of the best-selling biography Writing Home, and the short novels The Clothes They Stood Up In, Father Father Burning Bright, The Lady in the Van and The L
Bennett has been known to British audiences of radio, television, stage and screen for decades. In the United States, he's best known as the screenwriter of The Madness of King George and, perhaps, for his experiences with Miss Shepherd, an indigent woman who set up a succession of vans in his front yard for 15 years. Now he returns with a shaggy collection of autobiographical sketches, diary entries, considerations of art, architecture and other authors, as well as an account of his bout with colon cancer. Returning to the precincts of his straitlaced, working-class British background, Bennett reveals a lost world whose influence and mores have trailed him his entire life. He revisits the Leeds that he knew in the 1940s, where he was first exposed to music and theater, and where his parents, both shy and retiring people, set lack of pretension as the highest value. While he plays the old crank who is put upon by the world as it is, Bennett reveals an eye for detail and a feel for the complexity of human interactions. And though he laments at length his own late maturation-physical, sexual and intellectual-and lack of sophistication, he shows himself to have achieved a measure of happiness. B&w photos. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In addition to his many theatrical talents, Bennett (The Clothes They Stood Up In) is a fine storyteller. Using concentric circles rather than a linear pattern to tell his family history, he shapes his subjects' lives together into the story of a people, a place, and a time. Bennett's mother had a tendency toward depression and his account of her hospitalizations and his father's tenderness toward her offers poignant insights into their marriage. Bennett also offers a contemporary insider's look at England's theater and movie industries. His memories of fellow actors Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are wry, witty, and honest to a fault. And he gives candid responses to the success of his most recent play, The History Boys, which opened to great critical acclaim at London's Royal National Theatre in 2004 and will open on Broadway in April 2006 (to coincide with the publication of this book). Recommended for all public libraries with large autobiographical sections and all academic libraries with popular reading sections. [Untold Stories appears 12 years after another of Bennett's collections of autobiographical writings, Writing Home.-Ed.]-Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.