A life well lived, extremely elegantly told – Vintage Love and Other Essays by Jolyon Nuttall
More about the book!
Vintage Love and Other Essays by Jolyon Nuttall is out now from Jacana Media.
Nuttall, a retired newspaperman from a family steeped in literature, writes with feeling and depth – and often with wry humour – about episodes in his life as diverse as the romanticism of early loves through to the agonies of boiling an egg and learning to live alone after a long marriage. He has spurned the autobiography in favour of the essay as the Orwellian literary form in which to record these and other significant happenings in his life.
‘Essays seem to offer almost limitless room to improvise and experiment, and yet their very freedom makes them unforgiving of literary faults: sloppiness, vagueness, pretension, structural misshapenness, an immature voice, insular material, and the nearly universal plague of bad thinking are all mercilessly exposed under the spotlight in which the essayist stands alone onstage. There are no props, no sets, no other actors; the essayist is the existentialist of literature, and a mediocre talent will wear out his audience within a couple of paragraphs’
– George Packer writing on George Orwell
Nuttall is anything but a mediocre talent. From Professor Achille Mbembe, widely recognised thinker and writer who has received worldwide acclaim for his contributions to the discourse on Africa:
‘Writing in the first-person singular is one of the few means through which ordinary people can democratically engage with history. In this manuscript, Jolyon Nuttall offers a vivid example of the way one human being organises his experience of time, thinks of the temporal structure of his own actions, encounters and experiences and ultimately curates his own life. In a style of writing whose clarity and precision are unmatched, he gives ordinary people, places and events a name and a face, turning history itself into society’s memory.’
From Denis Beckett, wordsmith, author, columnist:
‘I hardly ever read anything to the end and, if I do, I feel captive. This one took me swimmingly to page The Last. My overall impression is of a life well lived, extremely elegantly told and reassuring us that some things are as they seem to be.’
From John Conyngham, former editor of The Witness in Pietermaritzburg:
‘Infused in much of the composite narrative is the joy of being a member of a family, with the inevitable sorrow of loss.
‘His essays on Alan Paton and Lewis Nkosi throw fascinating light on important literary figures and are therefore literary history.’
About the author
An early tinkerer with words, Jolyon Nuttall became a journalist, working in London and New York during a nine-year stint attached to The Daily News in Durban. His elevation (many journalists would say demotion) to the ranks of management held the wordsmith at bay. He rose to become General Manager of The Star and a director of Argus Newspapers Ltd during the hectic 1980s. Since being freed of those preoccupations, his writing instincts have resurfaced. He has self-published works on his father’s lifelong relationship with Alan Paton, entitled A Literary Friendship, and on flyfishing, another passion of his, in a book of essays entitled Hooked on Rivers, now sold out after two editions. His latest work, Vintage Love and Other Essays, is drawn from episodes in his own life. He writes with feeling and depth about situations in which he has found himself over the years. He lives on the edge of the sea in Kommetjie, near Cape Point, where he is at peace to write.