Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My 9th Fan of Chapman Post - A Liar's Autobiography

Thanks to Lady April of Pythonline for this photo, and several more to come for sure...

I just finished reading A Liar's Autobiography, and what a surreal and totally entertaining experience that was. The narrative weaves in and out of reality, almost as if smudged by an alcoholic hallucination. I wonder if that's what Graham is trying to get across, since he covers a period of time when he's pretty free with the gin.

Here's a quote from the Mrs. Captain Mark Phillips Slightly Better Preface, which gives an indication as to what's ahead:

It looks like one of those children's riddles. . . you're riding along a country lane when suddenly you come to a fork in the road. You see a sign saying, 'One of these roads leads to Newmarket, the other to somewhere horrid.' To find out which is which, you have to ask one of the two brothers who live in the hut over there. But there's the catch. One of them only tells the truth, and the other tells only lies. And you can only ask one question. Think carefully before you ask!

Some of the book is the country lane, some of it hits a definite fork, and then there wait the two brothers, only all I can do glance at them in some confusion. And often I'm not even sure when I've hit the fork, and I go marching merrily along until I realize I'm certainly not in Newmarket. Then I have to back up until I hit the fork again, and I try the other way. I never once bother with the brothers; they only grin stupidly at me.

The book has a lot of crazy footnotes as well, including some that depict conversations between Graham and his partner David Sherlock, a co-author. And then we get small flurries of sci-fi, perhaps Douglas Adams contributions. I just have no idea. But I had a wonderful time, and I think I learned some more about Graham. Well, at least I'm pretty sure I did. As was described so accurately by Sherlock, "He was Adonis-like, with a very short Roman hairstyle". . .

He was a physician who delivered babies and treated tonsillitis, he was a comedian, a father, a son, a lover, a sex maniac, a drunk, an actor, a friend, a caregiver, a pouf, a rabid pipe-smoker, a mountain climber, a Cambridge graduate, a Python. And through his own sheer audacity and will, he became sober.

This man crammed a hell of a lot of living in his 48 years.

And Graham, I did appreciate that you waited until I took your book onto public transport to show me the black-and-white photo of you lying in bed, naked and hairy, with your testicles in almost-full view. And wearing a bunny mask.

D'ya think it was on purpose? He likely would have approved. I'm half-sure something like that was supposed to happen. . .

1 comment:

Irene said...

Have you heard an audio version of this book?
I'm ashamed to say I'm still not sure is it Graham himself reading it... well, most of Python stuff I watched was translated to Russian and I didn't have much chance to learn to recognize his voice :)