After returning from a trip to Brunei, Anthony Burgess, initially believing he has only a year to live, begins to write - novels, film scripts, television series, articles. It is the life of a man desperate to earn a living through the written word. He finds at first that writing brings little success, and later that success, and the obligations it brings, interfere with his writing - especially of fiction. There were vast Hollywood projects destined never to be made, novels the critics snarled at, journalism that scandalised the morally scrupulous.
There is the éclat of A Clockwork Orange (and the consequent calls for Burgess to comment on violent atrocities), the huge success - after a long barren period - of Earthly Powers. There is a terrifying first marriage, his description of which is both painful and funny. His second marriage - and the discovery that he has a four-year-old son - changes his life dramatically, and he and Liana escape to the Mediterranean, for an increasingly European life. With this marriage comes the triumphant rebirth of sex, creative energy and travel - to America, to Australia and all over Europe.
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Extraordinarily lively, amazingly zestful, gutsy, bawdy fun - Sunday Express
This autobiography, packed with extraordinary moments... provides a unique picture of today's literary world. It also has the effect of pinning Burgess down, making him, improbable as he is, real and believable. We will, I think read him better for this, and appreciate him more - Observer
What Burgess ''shows off'' in these pages is the vivid interest that a writer's life can hold when it is lived by a writer with a robust temperament, a showman's appetite for vulgarity and the kind of gargantuan, omnivorous learning that helps give polymathy a good name... You've Had Your Time is an exhilarating book which, like the best of Burgess's novels, fulfills the ancient obligations of delighting, instructing and moving with incomparable panache - Independent
In two huge volumes of 'confessions' Burgess wove a vast tapestry of his life. William Boyd, an admirer, said they were among the best novels that Burgess ever wrote - Guardian
Anthony Burgess was born in Manchester in 1917. He served in the army from 1940 to 1954 before becoming a colonial education officer. It was while he held this post that doctors told him he would die, and he decided to try to live by writing. A prolific and respected author, Burgess died in 1993.