Books by Frederic Raphael

DISTANT INTIMACY by Frederic Raphael
Released: May 7, 2013

"High-octane lit-chat served cold, heavy on the bitters."
Personal strangers and intellectual compadres discover they have a lot to complain about. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 15, 2012

"Raphael is imposingly erudite and at pains to demonstrate it, yet there is a remarkable clarity to the writing, many elegant turns of phrase and a measure of sly humor."
Novelist, screenwriter and biographer Raphael (Ifs and Buts, 2011, etc.) succeeds admirably in recovering the reputation of much-maligned historian Titus Flavius Josephus (37-100). Read full book review >
ALL HIS SONS by Frederic Raphael
Released: May 1, 2001

"'Try not to be cruel.' 'I loved Eyes Wide Shut.'"
If this were a movie written by Raphael, the climactic dialogue might sound like this: Read full book review >
COAST TO COAST by Frederic Raphael
Released: May 1, 1999

"Have you ever read a novel that's all dialogue?" "William Gaddis. But hardly any." "Well, this is. With a handful of descriptive paragraphs scattered about." —And Raphael's dialogue is famous. The British TV miniseries The Glittering Prizes, some 19 novels, including After the War (1989). Screenplays? The upcoming Stanley Kubrick movie, Eyes Wide Shut with the Cruises, Julie Christie's Darling (an Oscar for the script), and that feast of bickering, Two for the Road, with Audrey and Albert." "Good credits!" "Mmm. Coast to Coast is another road picture with a zinger from left field for an ending. A married couple, bound for divorce, drive an antique Jaguar from New England to Los Angeles to attend their son's wedding. Of course, they wound each other all the way, largely about the adulteries bringing on their divorce, and the bloodletting gets worse at each of several stops (Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle), particularly at one with Barnaby's old buddy and Marion's ex-lover Hal. Once they deliver the Jaguar to their son Benjamin as a wedding present, they'll split forever. Or will the drive help them work through their problems? The hero is retired sitcom writer Barnaby Pierce, who groaned through several seasons of writing Sergeant Bimbo scripts while his wife Marion stayed home and raised their four kids, growing ever more restive. The subtext to the Jaguar gift is that Benjamin was driving Barnaby's Chevy on an icy road when he crashed, killing their son Christopher, and now has survivor's guilt. Did the death do in Barnaby and Marion's marriage? Or perhaps it was their unbalanced daughter Zara/Zenobia? Well, when the wedding comes, it's the wedding from hell, with shocks that kill." "Hmm! Is the talk brilliant?" "Very much so, especially the LA shoptalk. As the anguish deepens, you adjust quickly to knitting all the details together from dialogue. And the jump-cutting between speakers has a Cubist sharpness that should delight.— —All told, one of Raphael's most successful works.— Read full book review >

Novelist (Heaven and Earth, 1985) and screenwriter (Two for the Road, The Glittering Prizes) Raphael follows the fortunes of Michael Jordan, an assimilated Jewish playwright in England, from his boyhood during WW II to Israel's victory in the Six-Day War. Raphael's latest has an ambitious sweep—from the narrator's tribulations at St. George's School (evacuated to Devon during the war) to the Nazi guilt of a German banker; the complicity of American and British authorities in protecting him; loves and betrayals; drug abuse and suicide in the world of London musical theater and Hollywood; the struggle to establish a Jewish homeland and then preserve it; an African nation's civil strife and move to independence; and more. But events often happen offstage and serve mostly to provide opportunities for scathing dialogue and bons mots as Jordan matches wits with such as his barrister father; a mogul real-estate developer; an aggressively Jewish schoolmate (who infuriates Jordan, pursues his sister, and gets hot stew ladled into his lap); a vicious critic; an American painter (who's also a Jewish comic); the sexually manipulative actress he's loved since childhood; and the wife who can't forgive his one (all but meaningless) infidelity. The barrage of clever talk here entertains but ultimately tends to obscure the larger issues of identity, political and artistic integrity; and in a 500+=page book, the charm of Raphael's caustic wit eventually palls. Read full book review >