Where There's a Will: Thoughts on the Good Life

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Overview

John Mortimer is best known for his stories about the lovable and disheveled barrister Horace Rumpole, the “great defender of muddled and sinful humanity.” But he is also an accomplished memoirist, screenwriter, librettist, playwright, and former barrister. Now, at the age of eighty-one, he wonders what he should pass on to the next generation. In Where There's a Will, Mortimer ponders this question and writes about the (nonmaterial) things he believes enrich our experience of life. From the pleasures of drink ...
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Overview

John Mortimer is best known for his stories about the lovable and disheveled barrister Horace Rumpole, the “great defender of muddled and sinful humanity.” But he is also an accomplished memoirist, screenwriter, librettist, playwright, and former barrister. Now, at the age of eighty-one, he wonders what he should pass on to the next generation. In Where There's a Will, Mortimer ponders this question and writes about the (nonmaterial) things he believes enrich our experience of life. From the pleasures of drink and outdoor sex (though not necessarily together) to the justification of the odd lie and a vision of God as the Grand Perhaps, Where There's a Will is Mortimer's witty and wise, occasionally outrageous, and always thought-provoking examination of what it means to truly live and live well.
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Editorial Reviews

Alexander McCall Smith
The few hours one might spend in the initial reading of'Where There's a Will -- it is a book to be revisited -- are a potent tonic against all the miserable monochrome features of our days. To read it is a reassurance that there is witty and liberal intelligence still abroad. Encore, Mortimer. Encore. If this is really your will, then let's have plenty of codicils.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Best known as the creator of Horace Rumpole (Rumpole Rests His Case, etc.), Mortimer delivers much sound advice and liberal opinion, supported by apt literary allusions (from Shakespeare to Wodehouse) and by amusing anecdotes drawn from his dual career as a barrister and an author. In this intimate, extended monologue, the 81-year-old Mortimer holds forth in 32 brief chapters on a wide range of subjects dear to his heart, including such foolish New Labour policies as banning outdoor sex ("I should include in my will a strong recommendation of the joys of alfresco sex"); the excesses of political correctness ("A state in which everyone tiptoed around whispering for fear of hurting somebody's feelings would be dull beyond human endurance"); the virtues of the young ("Children can spot pomposity, insincerity and self-regard a mile off and are the best possible antidote to such diseases"); and the value of vulgarity ("If you can find a streak of vulgarity in yourself, nurture it"). As the punning title suggests, this conversational memoir amounts to an informal last will and testament, but the author ends on an uplifting note as he surveys his children and grandchildren. Mortimer fans and all lovers of civilized prose will share his delight. Agent, Michael Sissons at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop. (On sale May 23) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786281046
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

John Mortimer is a playwright, novelist, and former practicing barrister who has written many film scripts as well as stage, radio, and television plays, the Rumpole plays, for which he received the British Academy Writer of the Year Award, and the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. He is the author of twelve collections of Rumpole stories and three acclaimed volumes of autobiography.

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