The Art of Living

The Art of Living

A satirical novel


With all the wit, knowledge and wisdom of one of the UK's foremost cultural commentators, Stephen Bayley takes the reader on a satirical roller-coaster ride through the world of art and design in the late 20th century.

'Brilliantly drawn ..the pages are full of Wildean paradoxes' The Spectator

Someone once said you can find beauty anywhere. But all Eustace Dunne can see is ugliness
The buildings are grey, the people are tired and unimaginative, the food is inedible and life is drab, drab, drab.

Growing up in an England ravaged by the Second World War, Eustace resolves to make things beautiful again. A mercurial stint in art school gives him a springboard into a world that is changing so fast you have to hold on tight to keep up. And in that world, ambition, timing and a modicum of talent can transform you into anything you want to be.

Before long he's an artist, a designer, a restaurateur, an entrepreneur, a genius. But becoming a bastion of perfect taste can be a grubby business. Eustace's charm may have secured his influence on the homes and hearts of a nation, but there are still people out there who know where the bodies are buried...


  • Brilliantly drawn ..the pages are full of Wildean paradoxes
    The Spectator

About the author

Stephen Bayley

Stephen Bayley was the person for whom the term "design guru" was coined, something he accepts with what he likes to think of as self-deprecating irony. After a short and blameless period in provincial academe, he joined Terence Conran in an attempt to popularise design. This resulted in The Boilerhouse Project in London's V&A which became the most successful gallery of the eighties. The Boilerhouse evolved into the unique Design Museum which Mrs Thatcher opened in 1989, after some finger wagging and insisting it should not be called a "museum". During this period he learnt a lot about the perversity of genius and the absurdity of ambition.

Stephen Bayley has written many books and hundreds of articles which have shaped the popular understanding of design. This is his first attempt at fiction. He is Chairman of The Royal Fine Art Commission Trust, an honorary visiting professor at the Liverpool University School of Architecture and a Chevalier de l'Ordre Des Arts et Des Lettres, France's highest artistic accolade.
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