Rupert Everett's memoir, Vanished Years, is our May Non-Fiction Book of the Month

(64 Posts)

Our Non-Fiction Book of the Month, VANISHED YEARS, is written by a famous actor but is in no way comparable to the average celebrity memoir. A darkly comic collection of snapshots from Rupert Everett's tumultuous life, the book is like a throwback to the age of Evelyn Waugh or David Niven. Everett's writing is exactly how you imagine his company: urbane, seductive, exuberant, rude, unedited. It is a colloquial, immediate voice, and he writes very well, deftly mixing superficial gossip and profound, reflective moments in the same sentence. Like his previous, highly-acclaimed bestseller, Red Carpet and Other Banana Skins, the book is stuffed with anecdotes that skewer the fashion/showbiz worlds with droll wit. His escape from Alan Sugar and the Apprentice team is franticly funny. There are plenty of debauched parties, lurid clubs and famous faces behaving badly. But this time Everett is more thoughtful about the past, how we remember our lives and those who played a starring role. There are moving chapters on the deaths of Natasha Richardson and Isabella Blow, and a poignant trip to Lourdes. As the Guardian put it, it is 'a tragical, comical, ironical Broadway-hit-show of a life', told with great panache and fearlessness.

Little Brown have 50 copies to give to Mumsnetters - to claim yours please go to the book of the month page. We'll post here when all the copies have gone. If you're not lucky enough to bag one of the free books, you can always get your paperback or Kindle version here.

Once you've got your copy, please come and discuss the book here throughout the month - looking forward to seeing what you all think...

I've mixed feelings about the book. He can certainly evoke a scene vividly but sometimes he goes too far - his prose is too verbose for my taste. I think a judicious editor should have removed about 50 pages. His extremely high level of observation is almost unworldy - I just wish there wasn't so much of it. The melancholy tone initially I found refreshing compared to the other sleb autobio's I've read but half way through it got wearying and I felt quite depresssed after I'd finished the book. As a fan of Rupsy, I have to say that I also felt a little let down because he comes across as unnecessarily bitchy, spoilt and shallow at times. And I don't know what Robert Collins in Sunday Times was on about when he described the book as 'unsparingly bitchy' - I sensed he held a lot back, especially about Angela Lansbury and Natasha Richardson, though I think the book is generally better for the restraint and the chapters on his fathers death and his friendship with Isabella Blow were wonderful and his Apprentice antics were very funny to read.

Just about worth reading but it doesn't come close to Red Carpets.

sammibaps Mon 15-Jul-13 18:54:00

Hav finished reading but was left feeling somewhat deflated. In parts v interesting, thought provoking and emotional. However I felt that the story timeline was all over the place not knowing which time in his life it was which I found personally frustrating. Having said that what an interesting chap.

Change2013 Sat 29-Jun-13 21:16:49

There aren't that many books that have made me laugh out loud but this one did. I felt that I could hear Rupert Everett's voice reading the book aloud because he has his own style of writing which I like.

The book evoked a range of emotions and the part about his fathers death was very moving. I'm now going to look for Red carpets and other banana skins as I heard part of it on radio 4 but haven't read it.

Overall I had been looking forward to reading Vanished Years very much and I enjoyed it.

mrsshackleton Fri 28-Jun-13 11:50:06

The best celebrity memoir there is. The bits about Richard Curtis being the Leni Riefensthal of Blair's Britain and Madonna going off to wrap herself in clingfilm are genius.

johnworf Fri 28-Jun-13 11:32:39

I adore this book! It's been a long time since I've laughed out loud whilst reading. He's most definitely a 'why use a few words when 30 will do just as well'.

Overall, a great read. I need to read his first book now grin

TheConstantLurker Sun 23-Jun-13 21:57:09

Finished it a few days ago. My general impression is of enjoying it more than his first autobiographical book which I think is because this one is more personal. I loved the chapters on Blithe Spirit on Broadway and on Isabella Blow. The lourdes trip didn't move me but Rupert's description of his fathers last days did.
I will now be passing it onto my mother to enjoy.

SamsGoldilocks Sun 23-Jun-13 21:07:54

I'm enjoying his retelling of little vignettes, I don't think his life would work as an A-z sort of story, even if he could remember it.

I enjoyed the regaling of his first awakening to the film with Anita Pallenberg and his tales of his series Mr Ambassador.

He is overly waffly at times. But at least he can write rather than some 'so called celebs'.

Babbletalk Wed 19-Jun-13 20:11:44

Overall I enjoyed the book. I took to his style of writing, humour and descriptive use of language. I very much loved getting the 'inside' story on celebrities and Hollywood, then reading about his non-celebrity life.

However as I delved deeper into the book, I began to think some of the chapters/stories were drawn out.

Willemdefoeismine Wed 19-Jun-13 11:58:56

I couldn't put it down but I did find some parts of Vanished Years more unforgettable and poignant or even witty than others. Loved the whole scene involving Anita Pallenberg - a bit like something out of AbFab???

I read the book and the more I read, the more I started to feel as if I was reading about two very distinct characters - the arch, Establishment, Catholic, upper middle class guy and the louche, low-life loving 'queen'. I looked up his birthdate and reader, it came as no surprise to me that he is a Gemini!

I think his writing style is wonderful although I don't remember it being quite so rich and engaging when he wrote his previous autobiographical tomes.

I agree with whoever said that some of the vignettes seem more like magazine articles. But in a way I like that about it...it makes a change from a standard sequential reflection upon one's life...

I loved the whole Apprentice episode and his memories of being in New York with Isabella Blow (she sounds a thousand times more outrageous than him..). Less keen on some of his memories of living life in the gay lane...not sure why really.....maybe because I prefer to read about people of whom I have some awareness rather than 'unknowns.'

Although I read it during a drizzly few days, it's the sort of book that's made for holiday beach reading. It made me chortle out loud and some of his anecdotes were just beyond amusing....

I also loved that I am not alone in calling parents Mummy and Daddy well past childhood...... grin

Corygal Sun 16-Jun-13 21:06:31

I loved it. But - the big question - is it as good as the first one? Well, no.

It's much better, and that's the trouble. More lyrically written, more thoughtful, more melancholy (a lot of haunting place descriptions for some reason) - but precisely because of that rather higher-minded focus it's nowhere near the rip-roaring ride through slebville that one delighted in in Bananas.

Still deliciously indiscreet tho - the stuff on Isabella Blow is an almost perfect celeb gone bad vignette. Worth it just for that. But the piece on Nicky Haslam is pure (fag) hagiography and doesn't capture how screamingly smart and funny Nicky is. And every celeb is a D-list darling, to be honest - the funny stuff comes from the gay scene.

And the book is very disjointed, just a series of cameos - I have a nasty feeling that the publisher signed up for an autobiography and got a fragmented series of semi-articles, some very evidently rehashed from magazine work. La Rupert threw a wobbly and wouldn't change it. I would bet 100 quid on that.

Much to everyone's surprise, tho', he's a serious writer emerging from the cheekbones - candour, brevity and observational powers yes, sleb titillation and Wildean wit, no.

Elainey1609 Sat 15-Jun-13 16:48:55

I really loved this book. Rupert had an extraordinary life, What is what is so gratifying, is how extraordinarily well he writes about it. The prose is fantastic whether he's describing a poignant trip to Lourdes with his father or appearing on The television programme comic relief does The Apprentice, he manages to be evocative and constantly witty.
Very well written i would describe it as being very 'English'. It was charmingly funny and extremely sad making me at times throughout the book want to both cry and laugh at the same time.
The book really showed the reader into his true being and laying him bare which I feel that many autobiographys struggle to do.
Although not as good as the first volume, I was still wishing for more chapters so looking forward to him writing more

I collected my copy from the courier depot yesterday, thanks so much. Enjoying it hugely so far and almost finished the prologue.

The Richard Curtis anecdote on p19 is so funny grin

TheConstantLurker Fri 14-Jun-13 13:56:50

Right I'm posting as I read so that I don't forget it all.
I've got to 'The End of Charity' I found the Washington political chapter practically incomprehensible. All of the characters merged into each other in a blur of 'he' and 'she's about whom I cared not a jot. The next chapters about the making of The Ambassador were very funny and educational. I barked out laughs at regular intervals especially at the good witches and the accents.
Some of the description gets too long winded and a bit too flowery for me so I have started skipping tiny bits.

DeclutterQueen Thu 13-Jun-13 16:24:16

Oooh he's a bit naughty, that Rupert E. What my dear mother would refer to as 'a bit of a one'! I'm only two chapters in but there have already been mentions of escorts and drug abuse. Don't read if easily offended as he doesn't mince words.
I have a hide thicker than a rhinoceros so I'm enjoying this immensely.

TheConstantLurker Wed 12-Jun-13 10:55:49

Got mine a few days ago and have even started reading it. Good start and very funny chapter on The Apprentice.

Willemdefoeismine Wed 12-Jun-13 09:59:53

Well I've started my copy (a huge thank-you) and enjoying it immensely even though I'm supposed to be finishing my Book Club read first hmm. I love his writing style - he comes across as being very clever and has a good satirical way with words....

I love the opening chapter with him coming across Anita Pallenberg searching out prescription drugs....he has had an extraordinarily amazing life....

And grin for mistaking Alan Sugar for Sid James - that assuredly puts the former in his place. But rather arrogant - that rather snooty "not our class" approach.....

Still haven't recieved mine but as nobody was home today, I had a card from DPD couriers saying a parcel is ready to collect so I'm hoping this is it!

Babbletalk Tue 11-Jun-13 16:29:41

I got mine today. looking forward to getting into it. Thank you.

Corygal Tue 11-Jun-13 16:19:17

I've got mine! Time to turn off the phone, fail to send work in, leave kids and cat unfed, and even go off MN - I may be some time...

My copy arrived yesterday! I have enjoyed the first chapter...and will post more idc.

Thanks!

Spoken to pubishers, and copies should have been in the post on Thurs/Friday - let me know when you've received one...

Haven't had my copy either. Had an email from Laura to say the publishers have got into a bit of a mess so will hopefully be with us soon!

Babbletalk Thu 06-Jun-13 11:09:15

Sorry, for my last post! just read the previous messages and it looks like others are in the same boat. Think its time for a coffee to wake myself up!!.

Babbletalk Thu 06-Jun-13 11:07:02

I was thrilled to hear I'd managed to get one of the free copies of this book. However, it still hasn't arrived. anyone else with this problem?

Corygal Wed 05-Jun-13 16:39:41

Come on Rupes!

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