Then I died. Is this padding or is it priming the reader for something? He needs to give himself a break once in a while, especially when he misplaces a pen. So I was pleased to find a copy of this book under the Christmas tree. Proust starts with a madeleine. Brown starts with a pack of cards.
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Then I died. Is this padding or is it priming the reader for something? He needs to give himself a break once in a while, especially when he misplaces a pen. So I was pleased to find a copy of this book under the Christmas tree.
Proust starts with a madeleine. Brown starts with a pack of cards. But both use this as a jumping off point for a stream of introspection that takes them through their lives. We learn even more intimate details too, sometimes bordering on Too Much Information. And we get his opinions on everything from the existence of God to the importance of kindness in daily life.
But I read them in the same way as I listen to the views of a friend on the great issues of the day. As the book goes on, it rambles more and more until the footnotes are longer than the text. No, really, by the end there are pages with more footnote than text. It becomes steadily more self-indulgent. The weirdest thing is that at the end he thanks his editor. You have to ask: if this is what it looks like after editing, what on earth was it like before?
So is it worth reading? Well, I enjoyed it, even if some of the last few chapters began to seem a little wearing. The whole thing seemed very disjointed, and he would flit from topic to topic with baffling segues. The language as well hit me as a bit over the top, wordy in a Dickensian way. But all that changed as I continued to read the book and I realised I was expecting the wrong thing from it.
It is a hard book to define, "memoirs" only begins to cover it, but once I stopped trying to pigeonhole it, it became a much better read for me. I was very I kind of struggled with this book when I started. I was very impressed with how Derren Brown was willing to bear all on the page, discussing things such as his propensity for nose-picking or "having a little tidy-up" as he euphemistically called it.
And my initial misgivings about the language he was using faded away when I got into the rhythm of the book, and I actually enjoyed looking up and learning some of the more esoteric words. But the main reason I enjoyed the book was looking at the world through his eyes, he finds interest in the things most people would overlook.
Not sure if that was the intention but I lost interest after two thirds of the book.
But look closer. What do you see? Not an autobiography at all, but a weird, whimsical and, at times, uproarious deconstruction of the celebrity-memoir genre. Whether at his writing desk or in front of the camera, it seems Brown is happiest when leading his audience a merry dance. Confessions of a Conjuror is a description of one night in a Bristol restaurant. In the first chapter, he is looking for a group of diners to dazzle.
Confessions of a Conjuror