‘A vivid portrait of Julian Maclaren-Ross, the brilliant novelist, short story writer, critic, parodist, sponger, dandy and bohemian.’ Philip French, The Observer ‘Books Of The Year’
“Willetts’s gloriously readable biography paints a picture of a life which, for all its disappointments, was richly lived. I finished the book rather regretting never having had the opportunity to have stood Maclaren-Ross a drink.” The Mail on Sunday
Invariably clad in a sharp suit, augmented by dark glasses and a cigarette-holder, Julian Maclaren-Ross was a celebrated figure in mid-twentieth century Soho’s pub and club scene. He was also one of his generation’s most brilliant writers, admired by the likes of Evelyn Waugh, Anthony Powell, Cyril Connolly and Lucian Freud. Since the first publication of Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia in 2003 there has been a resurgence of interest in his ground-breaking work and flamboyant personality. Synonymous though he is with Soho, his uniquely strange life included spells in the army and on the French Riviera. So chaotic was his existence that he makes Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski appear models of stability and self-restraint. During fifty-two hectic years Maclaren-Ross endured alchoholism, drug-induced psychosis, poverty, homelessness, imprisonment, near insanity and a Scotland Yard man-hunt. At one stage he even stalked and planned to murder George Orwell’s glamorous widow.
Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia provides a vibrant and justly acclaimed portrait of Maclaren-Ross and the world he inhabited. Paul Willetts is the author of several other works of non-fiction, including North Soho 999 (also published by Dewi Lewis). His biography of the nightclub king, Paul Raymond, was filmed as The Look of Love, starring Steve Coogan, Anna Friel and Imogen Poots.
Softback, 352 pages
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