EFFORTS AT TRUTH by Nicholas Mosley


An Autobiography
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 An idiosyncratic but morally serious autobiography from noted British novelist and biographer Mosley (Hopeful Monsters, 1991, etc.) that is more a search for meaning in both life and art than a conventional rÇsumÇ of milestones. Mosley claims he wrote the book ``to see the partnership between learning and life, between experience and what is made of life, to see that one never gets to the end of unveiling smokescreens and presuppositions but it is in this attempt that there is a validity of being human.'' His childhood was, to say the least, unusual: His mother, daughter of Raj Viceroy Lord Curzon and an American heiress, died when he was nine, and his father, the notorious British fascist leader, was imprisoned during WW II; but the autobiographer is more intent on fulfilling his promised intellectual agenda. He begins with his youthful, idealistic first marriage in 1947, which also marks the start of his literary life as he writes novels first in the Caribbean, then in Wales, and finally in their country home near London. The couple was independently wealthy, and this lack of financial cares perhaps increased the sense of isolation from the mundane that characterizes Mosley's life and writing. He describes with agonizing scrupulousness his writing projects, his troubling but irresistible infidelities, his religious quest, and his estrangement from and subsequent reconciliation with his father. By middle age he had moved on from formal religion to psychoanalysis and a preoccupation with the patterns that lurk behind the ``smokescreens of [his] memory and verbiage''--ideas that would further evolve in his recent Catastrophe novels. He ends in the present, certain ``that if one trusts, then things may indeed work out in proper, if mysterious, ways.'' Quirky and at times tedious in exposition, but always honest and intellectually provocative. An autobiography that unflinchingly bares both the heart and the soul.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1995
ISBN: 1-56478-075-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Dalkey Archive
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995


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