Writing Home is a collection of some of Alan Bennett's prose writings. This includes some autobiographical pieces, the prefaces included in the printed versions of his plays, copies of various speeches he has made at events for various writers and actors, diary entries, and, perhaps most appealing to me, an edition of The Lady In The Van, Bennett's true account of his encounters with Miss Shepherd, an older lady who lived in her van in Bennett's driveway and outstayed her welcome by some fifteen years!
People who know me well will know I make no secret of my love for Bennett's work, and all the things I love - the humour, the clever observations and his writing style (particularly his ability to use literary language without appearing superior) - are all present throughout the different genres represented in this volume. I was in hysterics throughout the majority of The Lady In The Van, whilst also being aware of the seriousness of Miss Shepherd's situation, and feeling great sympathy for her.
Bennett was born and raised in Leeds; streets away from where I now live myself. As such, I was intrigued by the autobiographical pieces in this volume, as I recognise many of the locations about which he writes. It was interesting for me to read about what the area looked like in the 1930s and 1940s and consider how it has developed since this period.
Reading Writing Home has highlighted to me the breadth and depth of Bennett's work. Whilst I have enjoyed the opportunity to read alternative genres, I note that some of the pieces included in this book relate to writers and actors with whom I am not familiar. As such, these chapters held less interest for me as it was difficult to relate to the sentiments Bennett conveyed.
Overall, I enjoyed Writing Home and look forward to reading the other compilations of Bennett's work.
Writing Home is available from Amazon.