On Wheels (Hardcover)

By Michael Holroyd

Farrar Straus Giroux, 9780374226572, 104pp.

Publication Date: May 14, 2013



From the bestselling author of "A Book of Secrets," a brisk, charming, illustrated account of a motoring life

As a child, Michael Holroyd spent his best hours in his family's cramped garage, which contained a wealth of magical, exciting objects. But the most intriguing by far was the one in the middle of the room the family's eight-horsepower black Ford, which had found in the garage a permanent home and in Holroyd a dedicated caretaker. Sitting in the backseat his own private castle he began his love affair with the automobile.
" On Wheels" is the story of the cars and drivers that inspired and affected Holroyd throughout his life. Ranging from drives around the country with his father, a car obsessive, to the baroque horrors of his austere driving instructor, to the liberating pleasures of automatic transmission, "On Wheels" is an automotive autobiography the story of times and places that mattered to the author, told through the cars that bore witness.
"My biographies," Holroyd writes, "became increasingly filled with motoring exploits something of which I was unaware until recently," and so "On Wheels" is also a reflection on the author's many brilliant biographical subjects Bernard Shaw, Lytton Strachey, and many others and their own relationships to the open road.
Casually intimate and often riotously funny, "On Wheels" is a master biographer's miniature self-portrait and an indelible reflection on his great passion.

About the Author

Michael Holroyd is the author of acclaimed biographies of George Bernard Shaw, the painter Augustus John, Lytton Strachey, and Ellen Terry and Henry Irving; two memoirs, Basil Street Blues and Mosaic; and the bestselling A Book of Secrets, which was published in 2011. Knighted for his services to literature, he is the president emeritus of the Royal Society of Literature and the only nonfiction writer to have been awarded the David Cohen British Prize for Literature. He lives in London with his wife, the novelist Margaret Drabble.

Praise For On Wheels

Praise for A Book of Secrets

“Written with the kind of elegance, ease, and simplicity possible only from a master.” —Toni Bentley, The New York Times Book Review

“Brilliant . . . Holroyd is an impeccable writer and researcher, a man whose books are packed with intricate detail yet retain a buoyancy.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times