Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life (Hardcover)

Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life By Peter Ackroyd Cover Image

Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life (Hardcover)


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A gripping short biography of the extraordinary Alfred Hitchock, the master of suspense.

Alfred Hitchcock was a strange child. Fat, lonely, burning with fear and ambition, his childhood was an isolated one, scented with fish from his father's shop. Afraid to leave his bedroom, he would plan great voyages, using railway timetables to plot an exact imaginary route across Europe. So how did this fearful figure become the one of the most respected film directors of the twentieth century?
     As an adult, Hitch rigorously controlled the press's portrait of him, drawing certain carefully selected childhood anecdotes into full focus and blurring all others out. In this quick-witted portrait, Ackroyd reveals something more: a lugubriously jolly man fond of practical jokes, who smashes a once-used tea cup every morning to remind himself of the frailty of life. Iconic film stars make cameo appearances, just as Hitch did in his own films: Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, and James Stewart despair of his detached directing style and, perhaps most famously of all, Tippi Hedren endures cuts and bruises from a real-life fearsome flock of birds.
     Alfred Hitchcock wrests the director's chair back from the master of control and discovers what lurks just out of sight, in the corner of the shot.
PETER ACKROYD is the author of London: The Biography, Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination, Shakespeare: The Biography, and Thames: The Biography. He has written acclaimed biographies of T. S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake, and Sir Thomas More, as well as several successful novels. He has won the Whitbread Book Award for Biography, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the South Bank Award for Literature. His last book was a brief biography of Wilkie Collins.
Product Details ISBN: 9780385537414
ISBN-10: 0385537417
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Publication Date: October 25th, 2016
Pages: 288
Language: English
"A smart, fluent overview of the director’s life and art, and the mysterious dynamic between the two.” 
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times 

“Ackroyd’s volume is slim but insightful . . . guided by a novelist’s skills of characterization and texture . . . Ackroyd is thrillingly alive to what he calls ‘the true music’ of Hitchcock, with his Mozartian arias of pure flight and pursuit.”
—Tom Shone, The New York Times Book Review

"A masterful book on the Master of Suspense."
—Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times

“Immaculate and phenomenally readable . . . close to a minor classic of its kind.”
Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News

"A superb, insightful short life . . . Ackroyd’s deft and moving biography proves that there is a fresh story to be told, and that he is the person to do it. "
—Bee Wilson, The Guardian

"If there is any writer capable of imaginative sympathy with Hitchcock, it is Ackroyd."
—Duncan White, The Telegraph

"An elegant and hugely enjoyable read."
—Alexander Larman, Sunday Express

"A nutritious, compact and superb critical biography."
—Roger Lewis, Daily Mail

"Shelves of serious biographies have been written on Alfred Hitchcock, but perhaps none as pleasurable as Peter Ackroyd’s."
—Kate Muir, The Times (London)