5 x 7 3/4
To coincide with the release of Keith Waterhouse’s previously unpublished autobiography, How to Live to Be 22, the British Library brings together in a single volume two collections of memoirs by Waterhouse, City Lights and Streets Ahead.
Waterhouse thought his first book of memoirs, City Lights, originally published in 1994, was the best book he ever wrote. Here he recalls his childhood and adolescence in soot-blackened, tramcar-rattling Leeds, and describes—with his customary wit, warmth, and eye for detail—the earliest events that shaped him as a writer. A magical, touching book that is also an elegy for England’s past, City Lights is a delightful evocation of childhood and youth, and perhaps the most important chapter in Waterhouse’s lifelong love affair with cities.
Streets Ahead takes up where City Lights left off, in 1952, when Waterhouse arrived in Fleet Street in London. These were the days of long, liquid lunches, of eccentric and inspired newspapermen, and of foreign assignments. It was also when Waterhouse published his second and most famous novel, Billy Liar. Waterhouse tells of his newfound fame, including his Hollywood days with Hitchcock and Disney and Hollywood nights with the Rolling Stones. Streets Ahead is a lyrical and funny memoir of an eventful, euphoric era.