Big John

Frank Kermode

  • Little Wilson and Big God by Anthony Burgess
    Heinemann, 448 pp, £12.95, February 1987, ISBN 0 434 09819 1

The subtitle claims that this is ‘the First Part of the Confessions of Anthony Burgess’, who is officially known as John Burgess Wilson; and the book appears on the author’s 70th birthday, as part of his preparation for the coming encounter with Big God. There is, however, to be a Second Part, provisionally entitled You’ve had your time; we are told it will probably be even longer than this one, which takes the younger Wilson from birth to a midlife illness, falsely diagnosed as fatal. This gave considerable impetus to Burgess’s subsequent career, as no doubt the sequel will demonstrate.

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