Confessions of a Catastrophist


Carlo Gébler is a writer. Over a long career he has written an enormous variety of material including drama for the screen, stage and radio, long and short fiction, memoir, history and travel. He has not, however, written a cookery book though he realizes he might have to. If he does it will be called Burnt Dinners, of course. When he started writing seriously in the late 1970s there was no internet and publishers liked to lunch. Three decades on the literary world has changed: most significantly, it seems no longer congenial or welcoming to literature or those who try to make literature. As a catastrophist who never doubted from the moment he started that conditions in what he calls the Kingdom of Letters would only get worse, Carlo Gébler is not in the least surprised by how things have turned out. It was always going to go downhill (how could it not?) and in his Confessions he describes that process but in his own personal, idiosyncratic and caustic way. The book is an intriguing mixture of pungent, fierce and striking memoir with pithy mordant notes on the literary trade, on the books he s written and why he wrote them, and on the difficult business of negotiating a way through the thickets and trying to make a living. It is not a sour book (hopefully): it is a funny book (hopefully), it is unquestionably a true book, true about literature and the innumerable humiliations peculiar to it

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Dublin, Bray