The Lady’s edition of today chose No Longer With Us as their book of the week. The review was well-written and rather flattering . Here what the reviewer said:
Absent friends by Rebecca Wallersteiner
No Longer With Us: Encounters With NAIM ATTALLAH by Naim Attallah, with an introduction by Richard Ingrams (Quartet, £30)
‘An anthology of sensitive, revealing interviews with legendary men and women who are no longer with us: from Tony Benn and Enoch Powell to writers Sybille Bedford and Elizabeth Jane Howard, lo Lord Lambton and the Duke of Devonshire. Republishing these interviews ‘ will preserve the memory of a group of remarkable individuals and prove to be an invaluable assistance to the historians of our troubled times’, writers our very own Richard Ingrams in his excellent introduction.
My favourite dialogue is with journalist Quentin Crewe, on how, despite having muscular dystrophy and using a wheelchair, he never ceased to ‘delight’ in ‘travel’, ‘food’, ‘beautiful women’ and partying the night away: he argued that disabled people are not very different to anyone else. This is one of many pithy moments.
The Duke of Devonshire described how, when young, he liked ‘casinos’ and ‘fast women’. Elizabeth Jane Howard confessed her many lovers and troubled marriage to Kingsley Amis, and why she ‘ never took alimony from her three husbands’. On a lighter note, Sybille Bedford revealed that she and Ken Tynan ‘were nearly thrown out of court for laughing’ during the 1960 Chatterley trial.’
Attallah has a genius for drawing people out. As sparkling as Champagne, this collection brings back to life a rich cast leading lights.
If you haven’t already bought the book, I suggest you do so without fail.