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Thinking Again Reviews

Thinking Again by Jan Morris

Thinking Again

Jan Morris

4.00 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 5 Mar 2020
ISBN: 9780571357659

'Necrophilia is not one of my failings, but I do like graveyards and memorial stones and such...' Following the publication In My Mind's Eye, her acclaimed first volume of diaries, a Radio 4 Book Of The Week in 2018, Jan Morris continued to write her daily musings.

4 stars out of 5
Kathryn Hughes
27 Mar 2020

"this beguiling journal opens a window on to a long and well-remembered life"

that, of course, is the great joy of the diary format. It allows a personality to unfold without any requirement that the author smoothes out the snags. The result isn’t exactly unvarnished – Morris admits that she still spends an inordinate amount of energy crafting her prose before setting it before us – but it gets us closer to the sources of her art than we have been before.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
21 Mar 2020

"a deep dive into the charming and erudite mind of Morris, now 93, and also a moving meditation on just what it means to be old"

I don’t want you to think that this is grand or overly serious book. It is largely a pleasant one of comic curiosities, something to dip in and out of. Some views do feel half-formed, such as those on Trump, but then they are so swiftly followed by something frivolous — the idea that Morris’s favourite TV programme is the lowbrow American comedy Two and a Half Men made me laugh out loud — that perhaps we are not supposed to take it all so much to heart. ‘That’s the way it goes,’ as Morris writes cheerfully in her classic signing-off style. ‘Keep smiling anyway!’

4 stars out of 5
20 Mar 2020

"In what may be her last work, the Welsh author explores the epic and the everyday"

To the paradox of Thinking Again: a mind organising for death, and a writer putting an elegant shoulder to it. Morris writes, indomitably, every day, even when there is only food and television to report, but always with a monumental presence — The End — close by. As immovable as the view of Mount Snowdon from her kitchen window, death inspires philosophically vivid inquiry, set alongside events that are either borrowed (for example from America, where Trump is sensationally elected) or banal, such as a summery drive to a favourite pub that has unexpectedly run dry of Guinness. 

4 stars out of 5
Roger Lewis
19 Mar 2020

"Jan's secret is her own continued childlike curiosity"

ere, in her pages and in her personality, is the true serenity of old age, where the affairs of humankind don't matter all that much — not when compared with the beauty of North Wales, 'the toppled trees and broken branches . . . a few bedraggled sheep . . . a brazen pair of woodpeckers', the woodlands 'gently mutating into the green of a new summer . . . bright blues and yellows and pinks massed in banks and bushes, brazen in bold patches'. Not, however, that Jan only wants peace and quiet. Far from it. She loves energy, explosiveness, anything truly vibrant, such as the RAF fighter planes 'playing around in the skies above these parts'.