Vanished Years

by Rupert Everett (Little Brown) ISBN: 9780349000213

 

With his gaunt good looks and throwaway pedigree, Rupert Everett has always been somewhat of an impossibly elegant vagrant, stalking the edges of fame and notoriety. Nowhere is his uneasy relationship with his own fading celebrity more evident than in Vanished Years.

 

This is not the camp sidekick of My Best Friend’s Wedding or the ageing party boy on the circuit. We find a middle-aged man, son and lover looking back at a rueful past and facing a nebulous future—yes, with traces of bitterness but no self-pity. Self-deprecating humour, abundant charm and exquisite description of his own and friends’ vanished years draw you into a tale of uncovered regret, wild nostalgia and faint glimmering hope.

 

Everett can write with brutal hilarity about his failed attempt at an American sitcom, then surprise us with touching vulnerability as he recounts his doomed love for a beautiful Italian one summer, before switching to a harrowing first-hand account of his outreach work for the G8 Global Fund in Cambodia and Russia. 

 

But it is really his relationship with his father that imbues this memoir with its elegiac warmth and beauty.

 

Sometimes we listen to sad old songs to recall the past—with yearning, nostalgia or even regret. Sometimes we read beautiful books like this for the self-same reason.

 

Anthony Ehlers

5/5

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