'To be brought up in Leeds in the forties was to learn early on the quite useful lesson that life is generally something that happens elsewhere.'
In this delightful collection of reminiscences Alan Bennett recalls his early years in a sequence of tales that are funny, touching and written in his unique style.
Born in Leeds in 1934, he realises from a young age that his family is not like other families. When war breaks out in 1939, the Bennett family is on a tram heading down Tong Road as Neville Chamberlain addresses the nation. 'So, not quite partaking in the national mood and, as ever, unbrushed by the wings of history.'
The precocious Alan yearns to see the places and lead the life he reads about in books, but not even the war provides the excitement he longs for. This is an ordinary childhood - hiking in the Dales on Sundays, trips into town with Mam - recalled with wry observation and ironic understatement, which is by turns moving and hilarious.
These beautifully rendered snapshots, which include poignant portraits of his parents, confirm Bennett at the forefront of contemporary writing. Presented here as a new edition, Telling Tales will delight Bennett fans and enchant a new generation of readers.
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Beautiful, sherbert-lemon portraits... Will make everybody laugh. - Guardian
Fragments of Bennett's own childhood recalled with his inimitable interested, desperate, amused wisdom. Bennett manages to say more about human frailties and family realities than any number of official commissions and national institutes. - Independent
An owlishly witty, discursive treat - Financial Times
This delightful collection is full of the humour, warmth and poignancy that characterises his work... As with all of Bennett's work Telling Tales is one of life's pleasures. - Yorkshire Evening Post
Alan Bennett is one of Britain's best-loved and most highly acclaimed writers. He has written widely for radio, television and theatre. His latest play, The History Boys, won several awards, including Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Awards for Best Play and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. It also won six Tony Awards, including Best Play, following an extremely successful transfer to Broadway. In 2006 Bennett was named Author of the Year at the British Book Awards for Untold Stories, his recent collection of memoirs and diaries.