ENDLESS HIGHWAY by David Carradine


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 Self-indulgent, highly anecdotal memoir from the actor best known for the television series Kung Fu. Carradine inherited the performing gene; by the time of his birth on December 8, 1936, his father, John, was already a successful character actor in the movies. John left David's mother when the boy was six, creating two alcoholic, dysfunctional families between which David shuttled until he was old enough to create his own troubled environment. Carradine is frank about his drug use and drinking as well as his several marriages and many liaisons, most notoriously a quintessentially '60s union with actress Barbara Hershey that produced a son they named Free (the boy, understandably, later changed his name to Tom). He says little of interest about his career, which hasn't been especially dazzling in any case--though from the author's self-important pronouncements you'd never know that he'd been in one hit (Kung Fu), one artistic success (the Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory), and string of trashy exploitation films. Despite the countercultural trappings, in recounting his adventures Carradine favors the a-story-for- every-occasion approach beloved by actors for centuries; for someone who took as much LSD as he did, he's remarkably unintrospective. A few token anecdotes involving such bigger names as Bob Dylan seem to have been tossed in for commercial purposes, though his comment about Ingmar Bergman is mildly amusing (``It's hard to describe what it was like to work for Ingmar . . . the closest I can come is to say that [it] was exactly like being a character in an Ingmar Bergman movie''). Another problem is Carradine's delusion that readers will be as fascinated by his life's trivia (including mediocre song lyrics and descriptions of various cars) as he is. A few good stories, but in general the titular adjective is all too apt: endless, indeed.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-885203-20-9
Page count: 640pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1995


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