Writer’s Luck: A Memoir 1976-1991 by David Lodge review – plodding and self-indulgent

Where is the accomplished comic novelist in this over-detailed, prickly account, which has only flashes of moving writing and entertaining gossip

Henry James famously contrasted life as “being all inclusion and confusion”, with art “being all discrimination and selection”. I wish that David Lodge, a James aficionado, had heeded the latter part of that dictum when he was planning Writer’s Luck, the second volume of a memoir that began with Quite a Good Time to Be Born (2015). This book presents a writer who simply has no clue as to what he should leave out, or how to compress a narrative for the sake of pace. In his acknowledgements he thanks his agent, editor and others for their help, though evidently none of them troubled to tell him his book needed serious pruning.

Related: The interview: David Lodge

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