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Where There's a Will Tekijä: John Mortimer
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Where There's a Will (vuoden 2003 painos)

Tekijä: John Mortimer (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1444183,478 (4)2
Following the bestselling Summer of a Dormouse, Sir John Mortimer - playwright, novelist, octogenarian and erstwhile QC - offers up more lessons in living and growing old disgracefully. What would we like to leave to our descendants? Not a third-rate painting or our PEPS, according to Sir John, but a love of Shakespeare, a taste for alcohol, the ability to defeat boredom, the importance of never locking the lavatory door, and so on. Owing something to Montaigne's essays, something to Wilde's aphorisms and something to Yeats' poem for his daughter, Where There's a Will offers plenty of advice from one who has seen it all.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:davidmatthewson
Teoksen nimi:Where There's a Will
Kirjailijat:John Mortimer (Tekijä)
Info:VIKING (2003), Edition: First Edition, Third Impression, 181 pages
Kokoelmat:Carole-replace-with-ebook
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Where There's a Will (tekijä: John Mortimer)

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näyttää 4/4
Re-read in light of Mr M's passing. Brilliant collection of aphorisms and genuine sense of passing on a lifetime's experience and wisdom. Particularly like the bit about finding complete happiness while peeing into a bucket in Basingstoke. ( )
  Dickon.Edwards | Jun 30, 2013 |
I picked this one up serendipitously: it was on the library shelf next to Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris and it fit the bill for a summer read. A series of essays - mostly lighthearted despite the liberal quoting of Yeats, Byron, Shakespeare and Shelley - this is Mortimer's supposed "will" to the next generation. He starts off with a quote from his father: "All advice is perfectly useless" so we know not to look for huge life lessons here.

Mortimer is best known for his "Rumpole" series of books and TV shows. He was a barrister specializing in divorce law, as was his father, and an only child who benefitted from a privileged education (Harrow, Oxford) and a hugely successful writing career which included some 50 books and plays. He died in 2009, well into his eighties, surrounded by a loving family. A good life indeed.

The essays allow him to ramble on all sorts of subjects, including his antipathy for Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, Tony Blair and the Iraq War. A proud liberal, he found his government's attempts to outlaw begging, having sex in any place that could possibly described as "public", and fox hunting ridiculous: "It does no harm to other persons - unless you wish to count the fox as a person, which leads you into anthropomorphic arguments or the world according to Disney." Here are some other favorite bits:

On Sir Edward Marshall Hall who always entered the courtroom with a clerk bearing a pile of clean handkerchiefs, a carafe of water and an air cushion: "If the prosecution evidence got nasty, he would blow his nose, a sad and terrible trumpet, on each of the handkerchiefs. If it got worse, he would knock over the carafe of water. If it became really dangerous, he would slowly and deliberately blow up the air cushion until the jury could pay attention to nothing else."

On the days when one needed grounds in order to file for divorce: "One of my first clients was finding it extremely difficult to discover anyone prepared to commit adultery with his wife. He was reduced to the horrifying expedient of disguising himself in a false beard, a false moustache and a pair of dark glasses and creeping in to his own bungalow, in full view of the neighbours, pretending to be his own co-respondent. He was discovered and sent to prison for 'perverting the cause of justice'."

On modern technology: "Did we ever need the mobile phone? Watch the crowds go by, one hand pressed to the side of their heads as though they are all suffering from a powerful ear-ache, muttering incessantly to other marchers in other crowds clasping their hands to the side of their faces."

There are worse ways to spend a summer afternoon than chuckling over the ruminations of a very clever, funny man.
  NarratorLady | Aug 23, 2010 |
We lost old Mortimer just recently. This is an extraordinary book. A lifetime of wisdom is contained in the 200 odd pages. He shows a preference for Lear's Kent and other good sense sorts who "eat no fish." I found it almost impossible to put down. I must admit to being a slow reader, and I started the book after midnight.

'I do profess to be no less than I seem;' says Kent in his creed. To 'serve him truly that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgement; to fight when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.'

He also has something to say about Montaigne: Montaigne wrote little about the afterlife but he was concerned as the humanist with the process of dying. 'I want death to find me,' he wrote, 'planting my cabbages - caring little for it and even less about the imperfections of my garden. ( )
  Porius | May 12, 2009 |
A bit stream of consciousness. Mortimer's as liberal as the day is long, which, of course, offends my conservative sensitivities, but this was a good light-hearted read. I enjoyed it very much. Ignore the tirade against the market and the implication that art is the backbone of society. The market has provided quite nicely for Mortimer these many years; witnesseth: his many best-selling books, his career as a barrister, etc. Read it for the fun, not for the political lessons! ( )
  horacewimsey | Dec 30, 2008 |
näyttää 4/4
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Following the bestselling Summer of a Dormouse, Sir John Mortimer - playwright, novelist, octogenarian and erstwhile QC - offers up more lessons in living and growing old disgracefully. What would we like to leave to our descendants? Not a third-rate painting or our PEPS, according to Sir John, but a love of Shakespeare, a taste for alcohol, the ability to defeat boredom, the importance of never locking the lavatory door, and so on. Owing something to Montaigne's essays, something to Wilde's aphorisms and something to Yeats' poem for his daughter, Where There's a Will offers plenty of advice from one who has seen it all.

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