Book Choice

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Outsider I & II

Brian Sewell

Recommended by

Maggie Millar

If I could ask the art critic Brian Sewell one thing after reading these books it would be - did you leave anything out?

Given the raw candour that runs through both volumes of his autobiography ‘Outsider’, it’s incredibly hard to believe he did.

In a climate where ghost writers churn out the latest soft-focus drivel on c-list celebrities, Sewell refreshingly leaves no stone unturned in describing his journey through life - an illegitimate child, brought up by a posh but poor single mother, who somehow found himself being taught by, and become a trusted friend of, one of Britain’s most famous art historians and infamous spies, Anthony Blunt.

Sewell also relates his struggles against homophobic bosses at Christie’s auction house who, obsessed with class, refused to promote him.

And he also exposes his adventures - not for the faint hearted! - between the sheets/streets of London and beyond, to Dali’s back garden.

Sewell doesn’t give a hoot whether people like him - and many don’t - but these books are all the better for it.

I gasped and laughed in equal measure throughout.