by David Hare
5 Aug 2021
'David Hare's great quality has always been his refusal to accept the division between fact and imagination. His creative invention is fired by public realities and in turn he makes those realities feel deeply personal. That same quality is wonderfully at work in his essays and poems.
Whether he is writing about Tony Blair or Joan Didion, whether he is writing out of love or rage, evoking the intimate moments of his own life or the great moral questions of our times, he brings his subjects to life with an irresistible immediacy. All the wit, combativeness, energy and edge he has brought to the stage are present here on the page.' Fintan O'TooleI can't remember if I had any plans for the twenty-first century. I was already 52 when it arrived.
But events raced off in such unexpected directions that any possible ideas must have gone out the window. Many of us shared the sensation that history was speeding up. Recording dizzying changes in culture and politics, these elegant essays range in subject from the photographer Lee Miller to the Archbishop of Canterbury, from the actress Sarah Bernhardt to the rapist Jimmy Saville, from a celebration of Mad Men to a diagnosis of the incoherence of Conservatism in the new century.
The poems, in contrast, are private: tender meditations, filled with love, memory, vulnerability and the melancholy of ageing. This is a powerful compilation of prose and poetry by one of the distinctive thinkers of our time.