The opening lengthy chapter is a brutal and brilliant description of the terrible WA car accident several years ago that nearly took Hughes' life and left him physically and mentally shattered. In this beautifully written and searingly honest opening he makes you understand the trauma of devastating physical damage.
There have been, in the past 20 years or so, several memoirs that have struck a crucial intellectual and emotional chord. William Styron's DARKNESS VISIBLE is one. Frank McCourt's ANGELA'S ASHES is another. In many ways, this book belongs on the same shelf. The opening lengthy chapter is a brutal and briliant description of the terrible WA car accident several years ago that nearly took his life and left him physically and mentally shattered. In this beautifully written and searingly honest opening, that could be a small book in itself, Hughes makes you understand the trauma of devastating physical damage - and most important, he shows us the thought processes that one goes through when confronting death and a reemergence towards life. Using the experience of the accident to justify the need to explore his past, Hughes then takes us through his childhood. What makes this book extraordinary is that it is not one bit self-indulgent.Hughes doesn't just take us on a tour of his life, he takes us on a tour of his mind - and like the perfect tour, it is educational, expansive, entertaining and compelling. He does a magnificent job taking us back to the culture of the 60s in swinging London, never veering into sentiment and always looking back with a critical eye to examine a revolutionary period in art, sex and politics.
Born in Sydney Australia in 1938, Hughes began his jounalistic career as a freelance writer, specialising in art criticism. As a reviewer, Hughes is the only art critic to twice win America's most coveted award for art criticism, the Frank Jewett Mather.
Short-listed for Queensland Premier's Literary Awards: Best Non-fiction Book 2007
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