Little Wilson and Big God

Anthony Burgess, Author
Anthony Burgess, Author George Weidenfeld & Nicholson $22.5 (460p) ISBN 978-1-55584-100-3
Reviewed on: 12/01/1988
Release date: 12/01/1988
Filled with epigrammatic wit, written with seemingly total recall, this first installment of Burgess's autobiography is a thoroughly delightful memoir, the mellow recollections of a man who has come to terms with himself. He was born John Burgess Wilson, a Catholic with Irish blood raised in Protestant north England. Two recurrent themes are his ""dubious relationship'' with his country and his veering away from Catholicism, ``a kind of nationality one is stuck with forever.'' With self-deprecating humor Burgess portrays himself as an anti-hero. Serving in Gibraltar in World War II, he was thrown into jail on VE Day for calling Franco names. Dylan Thomas slept with his first wife (but the drunken poet was allegedly impotent). Burgess writes well about the clash of cultures in Malaya, where he served as a teacher. This record of his first 42 years ends with a shock, a doctor's diagnosis that he had an inoperable brain tumor and had less than a year to live. His response was to shrug off the news and confront God by becoming a professional writer. (February 25)
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