Book review: ‘The Smoking Diaries’ by Simon Gray

Vol. 1 of playwright Simon Gray’s amusing and meandering reminiscences.

‘The Smoking Diaries’ by Simon Gray

The ‘diaries’ in this four-volume series, of which this is the first, are not really diaries, as such, but more a series of reminiscences masquerading as an informal diary.

Playwright Simon Gray creates a wonderful new character named Simon Gray, who is clearly based on the real McCoy, but with added bumbling and insecurity. The entries are often genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, and often very moving. It’s a special kind of person who can make you laugh at an account of learning about a close friend’s cancer. The description of a financial adviser’s eyebrows also had me guffawing, much to the irritation of the other person in the room.


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By Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Website · Facebook · Twitter · Newsletter · Book

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On the Moor

Carter is an entertaining and well-read author. His work is filled with poetry, literature, history, and wider theoretical discussions and the humour is never forced upon the reader […] Bookshops are filled these days with books about nature. Few of them understand that nature is an interaction between human society and the wider world. Richard Carter’s walks and rumination remind us of the connectivity between all things, and they might lead you up a path, onto a moor and a walk to touch a trig point.
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