Alan Bennett narrates the latest installment of his diaries, as heard on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week.
Following on from Alan Bennett's best-selling, award-winning prose collections Writing Home and Untold Stories, Keeping On Keeping On is a third anthology featuring his unique observations, recollections and reminiscences.
At its heart is his latest published collection of diaries. In these entries, covering the years 2005 to 2014, Bennett looks back on a packed decade that included writing four highly acclaimed plays - The Habit of Art, People, Hymn and Cocktail Sticks, all of which premiered at the National Theatre - as well as the screenplays for the hit films The History Boys and The Lady in the Van.
In addition he reflects on his 25 years of friendship and collaboration with director Nicholas Hytner; life with his partner, Rupert Thomas; and, radical views notwithstanding, his status as 'kindly, cosy and essentially harmless'.
Packed with perceptive impressions of people and places, sharp social commentary, expressive description and delightful jokes, this irresistible record of life according to Alan Bennett is a treasury of wisdom and insight.
©2016 Alan Bennett (P)2016 BBC Worldwide Ltd.
I enjoyed this, but the print version contains the full diaries (plus a lot of other material too) a total of over 700 pages. This audible book is actually the BBC "Book of the Week" version which was broadcast by the BBC. It is most definitely an abridged version of the actual print version of the diaries, and does not contain the other material in the print version. But I suppose it is an unabridged version of the BBC production, which was an abridged version of the book. Very enjoyable, but beware of the term unabridged.
This is another highly entertaining reading by the inimitable Alan Bennett of extracts from his diaries but anybody who is expecting to hear the diary as it appears in the print version (let alone other material in the book) is due for a disappointment as the contents of the book have been savagely abridged.
This may be a full version of the extracts as broadcast by the BBC on "Book of the Week" but it is certainly not an unabridged version of the book itself, as the run-time of a mere 2 hours 16 minutes clearly indicates.
the most happy couple of hours you can spend. Bennett never disappoints the reader or listener.
Listening to Keeping On Keeping On is akin to experience with most Bennet......Feels like the wittiest and brightest friend you have calling round for an extended chat.
As ever left feeling the world isn't quite as bad as you thought. Sheer joy.
I too feel cheated by the degree of abridgement in this audio book. I must make a point of reading the reviews in future before I buy.
The content, what there is of it, is good, being Alan Bennett of course.
Listened to this whilst doing daily chores as I fall asleep too easily if at bedtime. The time whizzed by. Covering up to the Lady in the van movie, Alan goes back and forth in time , from life as a young lad in a house filled with beast heads on hooks right up to present day. Could have listened to it for far longer. Funny, moving and tender.
Writer and audiobook reviewer.
Keeping On Keeping On in book form is 700 pages long and includes ten years of Diaries from 2005 as well as two playscripts with their introductions, and elegies delivered at funerals. What Alan Bennett reads here is a very small selection from the Diaries as previously heard on Radio 4, so 'unabridged' is not accurate.
These are not the 'inner life' kind of diaries, as Bennett explains, and there is a sense that the private Bennett is still lurking behind the diary entries. And that's appropriate. What we have here is Bennett reading the selections in his distinctive voice which is like listening to an old friend. He is 81 by the end of Keeping On Keeping On. He's had serious operations and is hard of hearing, but this is all made light of (he wonders why an artist would want to confine himself to painting Ramsgate before he realises he paints landscapes). Instead he's sharp and acerbic about a whole range of public figures and what he sees as their execrable politics from Thatcher and Blair to Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson ('not a moral bone in his body'). His comments on life in Britain (from being robbed by Romanians in Marks and Spencers to the 'cantankerous and smarmy' literary scene) are refreshingly unguarded expressed in wittily weighted sentences - always razor sharp but never gratuitously unkind - and always bang on target.
His everyday life - buying bread, visiting Yorkshire churches with his partner Rupert - includes trips abroad and liaising with directors and actors. It's full of memories, anecdotes and things people have said long ago that pop into his head - Oh I wouldn't like to be that bald, his mother once said, you'd never know when to stop washing your face! There's a sense that he is tidying everything up - sorting out mountains of papers (including hundredweights of writing he never published) to give to the Bodleian in payment for the free education he received for which he is grateful.
The selections here are faithful to the flavour of the whole, but can be only a delicious slice. If you want the whole cake, you'll have to buy the book!
I was extremely disappointed to find that this is only an extract from the full work which was unclear at time of purchase. Whilst entertaining it is a small fraction of the content complete work.
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