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Clinging to the Wreckage is the first part of John Mortimer's acclaimed autobiography.
Here he recounts his solitary childhood in the English countryside, with affectionate portraits of his remote parents - an increasingly unconventional barrister father, whose blindness must never be mentioned, battling earwigs in the mutinous garden, and a vague and endlessly patient mother.
As a boy dreaming of a tap-dancing career on the stage and forming a one-boy communist cell at boarding school, his father pushes him to pursue the law, where Mortimer embarks on the career that was to inspire his hilarious and immortal literary creations.
Told with great humour and touching honesty, this is a magnificent achievement by one of Britain's best-loved writers.
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