Quentin Crisp Isn’t Done Yet

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The Last Word: An Autobiography
by Quentin Crisp
Edited by Phillip Ward
MB Books LLC. 232 pages, $14.99

 

I SEEM TO RECALL The New York Times referring to The King’s Speech as “a pudding of a movie,” meaning, I assume, that it was an enjoyable but not a very nutritious film. The same metaphor could be applied to Quentin Crisp’s final memoir, The Last Word, which offers lots of palate-pleasing soupçons of wit but not much of substance. At turns flighty and bitchy, the book is mostly a series of observations and impulses related with “humble brag” self-deprecation. This is too bad, especially for those of us who remember Crisp’s iconic memoir The Naked Civil Servant, which was the source of an excellent biopic of the same name.

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Peter Marino, an English professor emeritus at SUNY Adirondack, is the author of the YA novel Magic and Misery.

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