MP 4 – An Appetite For Life by Charles Ritchie


An Appetite For Life by Charles Ritchie (Macmillan Paperbacks 4) front coverAn Appetite For Life

From the Back Cover:

“A Marvellously sensitive portrait of the Torments, temptations and delights of growing up in the 1920’s…he is one of the great diarists of our time.” – William French, Globe and Mail

“As a diarist Charles Ritchie is faultless” – Barbara Amiel, Maclean’s

In 1975 Charles Ritchie won the Governor General’s Award or Non-Fiction with his first book, The Siren Years, a compilation of the diaries he wrote as a Canadian diplomat in London.

This success was followed in 1977 by the publication of An Appetite For Life, selections from the diaries he kept during his late teens, when he was living at home and studying at King’s College in Halifax, and, later, when he was at Oxford.

Here are amusing pictures of Halifax in the years when it was still almost a garrison town, and of Oxford during the Jazz Age. But even more amusing are the portraits Ritchie presents of the idiosyncrasies of the members of his own household and of the eccentric group of friends he acquired at university. As he said of Georgina, the maid, when she served him a bowl of porridge with a pair of scissors in it: “She really is getting to queer for words.”

But one of the most interesting characters that emerge is Ritchie himself. With great charm and perceptiveness he presents the well-known traumas of youth. It is no wonder that Claude Bissell said that he “challenges comparison with the best diarists in the language.”

Charles Ritchie had a brilliant career in Canada’s diplomatic service, acting as our Ambassador in Bonn, Washington, and London. Further volumes will follow in Macmillan Paperbacks, led by the best-selling Diplomatic Passport.

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