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Erotic Vagrancy

On sale

26th October 2023

Price: £24.99

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Selected: Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9780857384973

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The comic genius of English writing takes on Hollywood, delusion, celebrity and last century’s ultimate glamour couple: Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were a Sixties supercharged couple in an era of supercharged couples. As a pairing they were fantasy figures, impossibly desirable. Liz supple and soft, in perfumes and furs – yet with something demonic and lethal about her. Dick, in turn, with his ravaged, handsome face, looked as though lit by silver moonlight – poised to turn into a wolf.

Roger Lewis uses this glamorous and damaged pair as the starting point to tell the story of an age of excess: the freaks and groupies, the private jets and jewels and the yachts sailing in an azure sea; the magnificent bad taste and greed. It is about the clash of worlds: the filth and decay of South Wales and the grandeur and elegance of Old Hollywood; the fantasies we have about film stars and the fantasies the Burtons had about each other.

‘Brilliantly funny . . . the book of the year’ Sunday Times

‘By turns, funny, tragic, tender and vicious . . . a word-of-mouth sensation’ Guardian

(P) 2023 Quercus Editions Ltd

Reviews

Belfast Telegraph
Thirteen years in the writing, Erotic Vagrancy doesn't only surpass every other biography of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton yet to appear, this rich and articulate book is also about celebrity, creativity, being flawed and being brilliant.
Stephen Fry
It is one of the very best biographies I have ever read. One of the best books about fame, desire, Hollywood and mid-to-late twentieth-century culture ever written. Inside which, brilliant, hilarious and sensitive insights on all manner of subject fizz and froth. Magnificent, terrible, tragic, triumphant.
Craig Brown
Lewis' prose, so electrifying, so funny, so sharp, so unsolemn, always going in unexpected directions, and with all those hilarious asides. Erotic Vagrancy gave me a week of pure joy
David Hare
A hot thunderstorm of a book
Tony Palmer
Unputdownable
Hadley Freeman, Sunday Times
Fascinating and hilarious . . . The joy is in the writing and the writing is joyful . . . The boldness of Lewis's writing is perfectly suited to the charisma of his subjects.
Observer
As extravagant and uncompromising as its badly behaved stars.
The Times
Lewis's magnum opus is a masterpiece in a genre of his own invention.
The Telegraph
He is a genius writer . . . - brilliant, witty, exhilarating, and a fund of good stories.
Mail on Sunday
A wonderful book . . . so deliciously written . . . Erotic Vagrancy is the biography of the year. Correction. It's the book of the year and then some
Spectator (Duncan Fallowell Book of the Year)
A dionysiac humdinger.
New Statesman
The 'battling Burtons' Liz Taylor and Richard Burton were the most glamorous celebrity couple ever. Passionately devoted to each other, the high life and - fatally - the bottle, this fascinating account of their love affair is gripping stuff.
Scotsman
Stupendous book
Robbie Millen, The Times
This eccentric, baroque and often funny book, full of riffs, asides and venom, is a study of megastardom, excess and monstrous personalities.
Sunday Independent
Tantalising
Sight and Sound
Excellent . . . Lewis has managed to create something bigger and more extravagant than a biography . . . Erotic Vagrancy manages to be both beautiful and ugly, romantic and putrid, which befits Burton and Taylor, their love, their style, their era which is long gone.