Simon Raven once described himself as "too intelligent not to be a rotter", precisely the sort of quip that has made him a thorn in the side of the establishment.
Expelled from school, he "withdrew" from Cambridge and was lucky not to be drummed out of his regiment for "conduct unbecoming".
Kind friends proffered whiskey and revolver, but like Evelyn Waugh's Captain Grimes, he declined to do the decent thing.
Instead he pulled himself together and became a writer, the one profession from which "no degree whatever of moral or social disgrace" could debar him.
From these inauspicious beginnings he has developed into one of Britain's most successful writers, with over 20 novels to his credit, many short stories and pieces of journalism, and television screenplays such as "Edward and Mrs. Simpson" and the Palliser novels. In this authorized biography Michael Barber draws on three sources to present his portrait of the artist: Raven's friends, his writings, and, most vivid of all, his conversation - pungent, pithy and politically-incorrect.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 343 pages, 8photos
- Publisher: Duckworth Overlook
- Publication Date: 19/07/2001
- Category: Biography: general
- ISBN: 9780715631386