Quentin Crisp Isn’t Done Yet



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.

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


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