It’s the other people around you, says Michael Frayn, who make you what you are. So he would like to say a brief word, looking back on life from his ninetieth year, about a few of the people who have formed his own particular world.
Some were friends; some not; some more than friends. Some have had a profound effect; some only a passing one. Some you may know yourself; some you certainly won’t. Some he now wonders if he ever really knew himself. The last of his subjects in this selection, and the longest and closest acquaintance of all, is his own body, a companion on life’s road at least as idiosyncratic and puzzling as everyone and everything around it.
Among Others is a patchwork memoir of a lifetime’s encounters. Truthful and loving, sometimes elegiac, sometimes comic, it is a celebration of the endlessly intriguing otherness of others.
"Curious, blithe, philosophical: Michael Frayn is a structure to admire… Each individual in this collection is so sharply drawn, and each responding emotion in the writer so distinct, that it pays to read one chapter at a time, then go for a short walk to think about it." - Libby Purves, The TLS
“A forget-me-not composed as a series of forget-me-nots: this is Frayn’s final ingenious piece of work” - Ian Sansom, The Telegraph
“A poignant memoir about his lifetime’s friendships.” - Martin Chilton, The Independent
“The latest work by Michael Frayn, 89, is a homage to his health and declining circle of friends.” - Andrew Billen, The Times
“When it comes to literary multitasking, Michael Frayn is a maestro…(it is) a splendid sequel.. Frayn’s geniality of tone makes the book sparkle.” - Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times
“Frayn always finds things to applaud, their breadth of knowledge and sense of humour, their talent and imagination, their generosity of spirit and loyalty to friends. As his admirers know, he possesses all these qualities himself, but it’s the last too that really shine here, illuminating his unpretentious reflections on the past informed by the maxim: ‘What was, was.’” - Anna Aslanyan, Spectator
“A thoughtful and often moving portrait of a disappearing world in which a generous kind of bookish rigour and worldly wit created fleeting incandescence at the heart of British cultural life.” - Tim Adams, The Observer
“It’s a characteristically unpredictable sign-off to a hugely “illuminating” work.” - The Week
“Clapping his latest book shut, I suddenly realised my cheeks were aching: from first sentence to last, I hadn’t stopped smiling.” - The Mail on Sunday
“His talent for the serio-comic is underwritten by a logical and investigative temperament allied to a deep-seated and unselfconscious modesty. Where some artists perpetually strive to transcend limits, his instinct is to recognise them as his true material.” - Literary Review