BOOK OF FRIENDS by Henry Miller

BOOK OF FRIENDS

A Tribute to Friends of Long Ago
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KIRKUS REVIEW

I never had that desire to make an honest living, which everyone is supposed to have. I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth and I wanted to keep it there. I didn't think then that I was a spoiled brat, nor did I think, as I did later, that the world owed me a living." Henry Miller, our elder statesman of the libido, celebrates his 84th birthday this month, but by this evidence he is unregenerate. His memoir of his oldest friends continues the autobiographical romance he first published in Paris in the '30's where, he says, he first began to appreciate Brooklyn's glorious 14th Ward. His pals from Brooklyn are sinister angels like himself--tough yet guileless con artists who could charm their way into the habit of a Mother Superior, as cunning Joe O'Reagan claimed to have done. "Writers," according to Henry, get their material "from the gutter, from the potentially insane or criminal." Several wives, whores, girl friends, taxi dancers, bitches cross his path--"cunt was in the air" during his Western Union period--but his tenderness is reserved for his fellow guttersnipes: Stasiu, Johnny Paul, the Imhof brothers, Cousin Henry. All, of course, in the overriding context of his uninhibited monomania: the hero he worships most of all is his mythic self. As well as you think you know him from the Tropics or The Rosy Crucifixion, he's fresh and funny, with the same irresistible picaresque appeal--this old goat who still maintains that even if you love your wife madly, "To fuck someone else [is] a sign of life, the celebration of life." (Last two chapters not available to us at press time.)
Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 1975
Publisher: Capra
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1975




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