My Life in Pieces

  • by Simon Callow
  • Narrated by Simon Callow
  • 18 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography 2011
Drawing on a lifetime of writing about theatre and film, Callow takes us behind the curtain and behind the camera to introduce us to the performers and performances that have shaped him as an actor and as a public persona. They include giants like Orson Welles, Charles Dickens, Tommy Cooper, Charles Laughton and Laurence Olivier.
The book reconstructs the highlights of his career, including his breakthrough roles as the foul-mouthed Mozart in Amadeus, and as Reverend Beebe in the film of A Room With a View, at the personal insistence of producer Ismail Merchant. The pieces are interspersed with commentaries on pantomime, nudity, homosexuality, and the many other aspects of a rich and varied life, both on and off the stage.
Read by Simon Callow
"Talking books are a most brilliant medium, so direct in communication - and when it's one's own book one's reading, very very intimate." Simon Callow

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An ideal book to be heard

This is one of the best audio books I've listened to. I know that Simon Callow is a fine actor but didn’t realize he is also an accomplished writer and scholar of theatre and film. This book is based on the huge number of articles and reviews that he has written over the past 30 or so years. It's an entertaining and informative potpourri of autobiography, biography of actors past and present, mixed with reviews of plays and films and how they are made. The ups and downs of his life as an actor, director and writer are presented with endearing frankness and lack of self-importance despite his evident achievements.

This is one of those books that is enhanced by being read by someone as versatile as the author. He is a wonderful mimic and brings the voices of people as diverse as Frankie Howerd and Lawrence Olivier alive. The writing style is fluid and suits being heard. It’s a perfect blend of information about what it is like to be an actor, plenty about plays and films and how they are created plus backstage gossip, some of it wonderfully scurrilous. I’ve suspected that if there’s a gay gene it’s strongly linked to exceptional artistic talent and after hearing this book I’m even more convinced!

If you’ve any interest in theatre, film and what it’s like to be an actor I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book. I’m left feeling grateful that actors are willing to put up with an uncertain and rootless life that is often badly paid and where they are exposed to public criticism.
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- Kirstine

A wonderful read

Having been a fan and avid attendee of theatre for many years I bought this title on impulse, purely because it promised to be a very different take on the world of the actor and, somewhat selfishly, I thought it would help while away my current daily commute into The City. I was not disappointed; this book is an amazing find, grabbing the listener from the off and introducing them to an array of famous lives such as Olivier, Geilgud, Richardson, Edith Evans, Nigel Hawthorn, John Schofield, and looks at the effect they had on the world of theatre and how it impacted them.

The success of this title is in no small way down to Simon Callow whose infectious love of the theatre and the people in it is clear from the very start. Weaving his story broadly around his own life and career as an actor, Callow touches on aspects of the world of theatre that few audience-goers consider, and he gives a fascinating insight into the intrigues and alliances that are formed during a production. And yet he manages to maintain direct contact with you, the listener, talking as if you're sitting at a bar, passing the day.

My morning commute just isn't the same without Mr Callow and his tales, this is a must-have title.
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- Colin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 26-04-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios