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The Last Diaries

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780753816950

Price: £10.99

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‘With his Diaries, he has written himself into the life of our times with a panache and candour that ranks him next to Boswell or Pepys’ The Times

The first two volumes of Alan Clark’s were irresistible, irreverent, infamous, outrageous. This last volume is a fitting finale to the work of a man who has been described as ‘the best diarist of his century’.

The third volume begins in 1991 with Alan Clark contemplating quitting as an MP. Life at Saltwood Castle, his home, hangs heavy; then comes the Scott inquiry and the Matrix Churchill affair. Publication of the first volume of the Diaries leads ‘the coven’, a family of former girlfriends, to sell their story to the NEWS OF THE WORLD.

This volume follows his attempts to return to Westminster, an affair that threatens his marriage, and closes with the tragedy of his final months when he is diagnosed with a brain tumour, but keeps his diary until he can no longer focus on the page.

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The skill in the diaries and memoirs of most politicians lies in the delicate airbrushing out of their faults and weaknesses. Alan Clark's self-portrait, on the other hand, is defiantly warts-and-all ... His three volumes of diaries will ensure his immortality
Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
Ever present in this volume is his preoccupation with the illness that finally claimed him. It is more sombre, infinitely more foreboding than his other work ... The last entries, by Jane recording Alan's final days, are hugely moving ... This is simply the best book I have read since - well, since the last Clark oeuvre
Steven Norris, The Times
A rare record of what it is like to be dying by a master of the English language
Bevis Hillier, Spectator (Books of the Year)
This volume of Clark is better on small details of an indulged life, of Eccles cakes and stilton, the vanity of his timed runs up flights of stairs, his befriending of jackdaws whose pellets he takes abroad for good luck
Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
The last diaries are a muted version of the others, full of stengun judgments, scorn, candour and opinion - also ambition recollected in imperfect tranquility
Edward Pearce, Tribune Magazine
Alan Clark's relationship with God in these diaries is both funny and moving ... These diaries do not stalk the corridors of power. There is very little high-level gossip, but some of our favourite characters from the early diaries make appearances ... As his hypochondria gives way to real sickness, his moral gambling to terror, his selfish and equivocal attitude towards his wife to absolute love and gratitude, the diaries assume an immense sadness and profundity ... Alan Clark was not a good man, but he was a dazzling diarist. He writes, self-pityingly: "I suppose I will be remembered for the Diaries." He will, and for this one most of all. A grand love story eclipses a political career
Sarah Sands, Daily Telegraph
A long way from the acerbic knockabout looked for by Clark's admirers ... The latter part of the book is darkened by the diarist's recognition that [those] frissons of demise are no illusion: he has brain cancer ... the journal of a disappointed man becomes that of a mind at the end of its tether. At the same time the heartless, even caddish, candour gives way to long impassioned avowals of devotion to a sorely tried wife. When he finally abandons his pen, Jane Clark adds her own brief log, in which reciprocated devotion sits uneasily with sick-room grue. "I love God," she writes, "but this is such a cruel way to demolish such a brilliant brain"
E.S. Turner, TLS
Pure pleasure ... there ought to be a constant supply of Alan Clarks
Sue Townsend, Mail on Sunday (Books of the Year)
The Pepys of our time ... More than anything else The Last Diaries is a love story. And like its theme it will endure
Graham Stewart, Spectator