The Smoking Diaries: The Year of the Jouncer

Overview

As a baby, Simon Gray discovered that he could move his carriage while still nestling inside it. "It was a complete mystery to the adult intelligences, how had he done it, if it was he who had done it, but if not he, who then and why? So the next afternoon they planted the pram in the usual spot, and stood over it, watching—the baby lay there smiling or snivelling up at them, until it struck them that they should try observing the baby when unobserved by the baby, and they withdrew behind bushes and trees; and ...

See more details below
Paperback
$15.51
BN.com price
(Save 13%)$17.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $2.39   
  • New (6) from $6.71   
  • Used (8) from $2.39   
The Smoking Diaries Volume 2

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.49
BN.com price
(Save 10%)$10.65 List Price

Overview

As a baby, Simon Gray discovered that he could move his carriage while still nestling inside it. "It was a complete mystery to the adult intelligences, how had he done it, if it was he who had done it, but if not he, who then and why? So the next afternoon they planted the pram in the usual spot, and stood over it, watching—the baby lay there smiling or snivelling up at them, until it struck them that they should try observing the baby when unobserved by the baby, and they withdrew behind bushes and trees; and thus witnessed the swaying of the pram, then the juddering of the pram, then its slow, unsteady progress along the path, the movement accompanied by a low humming and keening sound from within that reminded them more of a dog than a human . . . jouncing was the word they used for it. I was a jouncer therefore." In these hilarious chronicles of triumph and disaster, Gray intertwines scenes from his adult and his child self to produce a brilliant and moving counterpoint of life’s unsteady progress.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
About to celebrate his 66th birthday, Gray, the British author of more than 30 plays, including the forthcoming Broadway revival of Butley (which will star Nathan Lane), started writing this witty journal of passing time, missed opportunities and his personality quirks, with the underlying topic of his smoking three packs of cigarettes daily and the wheezing and dizziness that accompany his habit. He traces his romance with tobacco to the incessant smoking of his overaffectionate Mummy and emotionally distant Daddy, and to his savvy 1940s and '50s childhood spent as part of a girl-run kiddie gang in Montreal. Gray's funny vignettes introduce characters such as Mr. and Mrs. Alzheimer (he suffers from the disease; she, therefore, is an "Alzheimer widow"), and "schoolmaster floggers" Mr. Brown and Mr. Burn. While somberly noting the demise of his parents and several friends from smoking-relating cancer and emphysema, Gray keeps up a constant comedy routine about the British literary world, his claustrophobia in cars and trains, the TV series Law and Order and other random subjects. His memoir is a dark comedy, full of intimacy, limericks, wisdom and fun. Photos. Agent, Angela Rose/Granta. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
British author Gray is perhaps best known for his plays, produced on stage as well as on television and radio, but he has also written films, fiction, and nonfiction. This memoir begins two hours into his 66th year, as he tries to make sense of what has shaped him. In a stream-of-consciousness style that often sounds as if he were speaking a soliloquy, he relates his childhood in Canada and England. Some aspects of his life are hard to face-his parents' infidelities and his own, his devotion to smoking despite its contribution to the deaths of his parents and a dear friend-and he digresses, much to the reader's enjoyment, before returning to his initial thread. In other instances, he second-guesses himself: Did he deliberately shy away from certain opportunities? He need not worry. Whatever his experiences, they have given him plenty of material with which to work. His style is engaging and witty, and he elicits your sympathy. Those unfamiliar with his work will want to check it out after reading this; those who know it will not be surprised at the quality of the writing here. Recommended for academic libraries and larger public libraries.-Gina Kaiser, Univ. of the Sciences Lib., Philadelphia Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lyrical and darkly funny meditations on death, infirmity and other disasters of aging by one of Britain's most acclaimed playwrights. Gray, author of scripts for radio, television and the stage, begins his seemingly stream-of-consciousness diaries on his 65th birthday, the day he learns that his good friend Harold Pinter has cancer. So does his close friend Ian Hamilton, who dies during the course of Gray's diary keeping; and before the end, Gray learns that he has it, too, though his stomach and liver are "in such a shambles" that he won't live long enough for his prostate cancer to matter. Indeed, death hovers over the book yet doesn't permeate it, for Gray has filled it with sharp observations, delicious and terrible childhood memories of parents, grandparents and schooldays, and choice comments about films (Gary Cooper's portrayal of the tortured, stoic sheriff in High Noon, he writes, owes much to the actor's painfully inflamed piles during the filming) and the work of other writers (W.H. Auden is especially scorned). Asides, afterthoughts and digressions create the impression that the writing is spontaneous and unedited, the author talking to himself and jotting down his thoughts in a yellow pad. It's not, however, a casual diary. It's a collection of well-crafted essays (with intriguing titles-"On Being a Genius," "Still Not Mummy's Football Boots," "A Smoking Urologist") that touch on friendship, adultery, illness, loss, writing, family and anybody and anything else in life that captures the writer's attention. Throughout, he is frank and funny about his failings and his weaknesses ("his fecklessness, self-indulgence, extravagance"). Once a four-bottles-of-champagne-a-day drinkerwho now has only diet sodas, a smoker who's trying to cut down from his habitual 60 cigarettes a day, he's overdrawn at his bank and can't pay his taxes, yet he dines out more often than in, and vacations with his wife in Barbados and Italy. Artful ramblings about life fully lived and well remembered.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847080554
  • Publisher: Granta UK
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon Gray is the author of more than 30 plays, including Butley, The Common Pursuit, and Cell Mates, as well as his memoirs Enter a Fox, Fat Chance, and The Year of the Jouncer.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)