In his camel-hair coat and immaculate suit, with carnation buttonhole, silver-topped malacca cane, cigarette holder and mirrored sunglasses, Maclaren-Ross cut a dandified figure in the Soho, Fitzrovia and Bloomsbury of the forties, fifties and sixties. A gifted raconteur, he knew and writes here about some of the notable figures of the period, among them Dylan Thomas, Graham Greene, Cyril Connolly, Stephen Spender and John Minton. His life, often chaotic and related unsentimentally in these memoirs veered between the fringes of the literary establishment and homelessness.
He was much admired by writers as diverse as Evelyn Waugh and John Betjeman, and his colourful personality made him the model for fictional characters, most famously X. Trapnel in Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time, but also in the stories of Graham Greene and Olivia Manning. More recent admirers include Harold Pinter, Iain Sinclair, Melvin Bragg and D.J. Taylor.
Not only is this the first time such a range of memoirs has been available in a single volume, it is the first time some of these memoirs have appeared in book form at all, and Paul Willetts's introduction offers a thorough context. He is author of Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia: the bizarre life of writer, actor, Soho raconteur Julian Maclaren-Ross (Dewi Lewis Publishing).
'Those who have yet to discover this wonderfully stylish and sardonic writer should start here'
Peter Parker, Daily Telegraph
'Bringing so many of [these memoirs] together in one volume offers a substantial account of his great talent'
Independent on Sunday
'Maclaren-Ross is one of the great unsung heroes of the literary 1940s and at his best a figure to rank with Orwell, Waugh and Connolly'
D.J. Taylor, author of Orwell: The Life
'One of our very best writers'
'Mr Maclaren-Ross's Work... showed... accomplishment of a rare kind'
'An author of outstanding gifts'
'He has a talent of a rare and original kind'
'A figure of sexual charisma, unspecified corruption and unshockable cynicism. How much more glamorous could a writer be?'
Virginia Ironside, Independent on Sunday magazine
Paperback 464pp, ISBN 0 948238 30 5; £8.95