Although he admits to being a particularly poor correspondent, British novelist and critic Bradbury proclaims that he does compose letters in his head but just doesn't write them down. These irreverent notessamples of those he has imagined but never committed to paperare put-downs, indeed: absurd, ironic letters to imaginary correspondents, sometimes signed with imaginary names, about ``art and creativity, research and scholarship, publishing and editing, earning a living and making a crust,'' writing for the art market, TV or posterity, about writers' lives and spouses, about great books projected and even greater books lost or abandoned. Since Bradbury has spent much time in the U.S., many of these letters poke fun at American people, customs and institutions. Whether Americans will enjoy them or respond favorably to Bradbury's forced, sophomoric humor is a question that only individual readers can determine, but certainly some will wish that he had stuck to fiction and literary criticism. First serial to the New York Times Book Review. (July)
A British novelist and critic takes a satirical look at the life of a writer and scholar. Writing in the form of letters that he never got around to sending, Bradbury offers reminiscences and advice on topics from research and publishing in the academic world to writing for TV and organizing a conference. The results are very funny; the only drawback is the frequent British allusions, on which some of the humor rests. Test: Who are Ken Livingstone and Ian Botham, and what was Take It From Here ? Answers: A Labour party politician, a top English cricketer, a 1950s radio show. Bradbury's observations of American academic life compensate for anything lost in crossing the Atlantic. A joy for students, academics, and writers.Bryan Aubrey, Fairfield, Ia.