Off The King's Road - Lost and Found in London
A compelling memoir that captures an era...
How can anyone resist a book that opens with Marlon Brando attempting to seduce the narrator while her husband sits beside her? Thus, Phyllis Raphael had us at "hello" with her memoir, Off The King's Road, Lost and Found in London, a highly evocative account of a woman's journey from Brooklyn to Hollywood and swinging London at the apex of late sixties grooviness... This milieu - the anything goes hedonism, the limos, and first class travel has been captured before, but Raphael's account of the English teetering between ingrained restraint and letting- it -all -hang - out is acute - hilarious and sad. Raphael is a talented writer, and she captures her heightened awareness of post marital-split life with refreshing vigor.
I can't think of any recent memoir of self discovery written with such verve, elegance and sly irony. The bemused narrator stumbles valiantly through a London drawn with comic brilliance and peopled by a zany cast of characters. Phyllis Raphael's zig zag journey to adulthood and the writing life may have been rough on the author, but it's sheer delight for the reader.
Raphael's memoir of being abandoned with three young children in Swinging London is hugely enjoyable. A chronicle of a feverish time as well as a riveting personal journey. This young wife transplanted from Brooklyn with stop over in Hollywood gets her bearings and writers chops among an ur-Sixties cast of characters - expat bohemians, Hollywood wannabes and an anti psychiatry psychiatrist who believes that marriage is the death of the self. Raphael's is one self that survives and lives to tell the tale and tell it beautifully.