The Smoking Diaries
By Simon Gray
(Da Capo Press, Paperback, 9780786715459, 240pp.)
Publication Date: June 2005
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When he turned sixty-five, the acclaimed playwright Simon Gray began to keep this diary: not a careful honing of the day’s events with a view to posterity but an account of his thoughts as he had them, honestly, turbulently, digressively expressed. The Smoking Diaries is the result, in which one of Britain’s most amusing and original writers reflects on a life filled with cigarettes (continuing), alcohol (stopped), several triumphs and many more disasters, shame, adultery, friendship, and love. Few diarists have been as frank about themselves, and even fewer as entertaining.
So here I am, two hours into my sixty-sixth year.... The truth is that I’m nastier than I used to be back whenback when I was sixty-four, for instance, when I was nastier than when I was at sixty-two and so forth, back and back, always the less nasty the further back, until I get to the age when I was pre-nasty, at least consciously, when the only shame I knew was the shame of being found out, which was when I was, well, about eight, I suppose.”