Saturday, 6 August 2011

BRIGHT YOUNG PEOPLE: THE RISE AND FALL OF A GENERATION 1918-1940 - D.J. Taylor, 2007

I found this book very appealing as the 20s and 30s has always been an era I’ve been especially fond of in art, film and literature on both sides of The Atlantic. When I was younger I wanted to be Humphrey Bogart’s moll and The Roaring Twenties (Warner, 1939) is still one of my favourite films. This book details the lives of a particular of London ‘set’. They had more money than sense and seemed hell-bent on enjoying themselves at all costs. There was no way that their pockets or their livers could sustain their lifestyle for long but some of them kept it up for almost twenty years. Their lives are portrayed in this book with perhaps more sympathy than they deserve but it is an enchanting glimpse into what is almost a child-like existence. Without responsibility or accountability, they ‘played’ all day; they had treasure hunts, picnics and fancy dress parties. The final chapters recount their inevitable decline but there is no doubt that they live on in the literature they inspired.

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