After returning from a trip to Brunei, Anthony Burgess, initially believing he has only a year to live, begins to write - novels, film scripts, television series, articles. It is the life of a man desperate to earn a living through the written word. He finds at first that writing brings little success, and later that success, and the obligations it brings, interfere with his writing - especially of fiction. There were vast Hollywood projects destined never to be made, novels the critics snarled at, journalism that scandalised the morally scrupulous.
There is the éclat of A Clockwork Orange (and the consequent calls for Burgess to comment on violent atrocities), the huge success - after a long barren period - of Earthly Powers. There is a terrifying first marriage, his description of which is both painful and funny. His second marriage - and the discovery that he has a four-year-old son - changes his life dramatically, and he and Liana escape to the Mediterranean, for an increasingly European life. With this marriage comes the triumphant rebirth of sex, creative energy and travel - to America, to Australia and all over Europe.
Extraordinarily lively, amazingly zestful, gutsy, bawdy fun
This autobiography, packed with extraordinary moments... provides a unique picture of today's literary world. It also has the effect of pinning Burgess down, making him, improbable as he is, real and believable. We will, I think read him better for this, and appreciate him more
What Burgess ''shows off'' in these pages is the vivid interest that a writer's life can hold when it is lived by a writer with a robust temperament, a showman's appetite for vulgarity and the kind of gargantuan, omnivorous learning that helps give polymathy a good name... You've Had Your Time is an exhilarating book which, like the best of Burgess's novels, fulfills the ancient obligations of delighting, instructing and moving with incomparable panache
In two huge volumes of "confessions" Burgess wove a vast tapestry of his life. William Boyd, an admirer, said they were among the best novels that Burgess ever wrote