Saturday, 19 September 2009

Well, it's definitely a biography

The Penguin edition of Horse Under Water (Penguin book 2322) from 1965 contains a great idiosyncratic author biography of Len Deighton on its first page. All of it's true...I think(!) Either way, it's a fantastic overview of Len's varied life before becoming an author. I've reproduced it in full below:

Len Deighton. Born central London 18.2.29. Mother's name Fitzgerald.

Description - Dark complexion, 14 stone, 6 feet tall. Cruel, sardonic sense of humour. Large hands, stubby fingers used to punctuate rapid, neurotic speech. Bayonet scar palm right hand. Drinks warily, seldom smokes.

Skills - Extensive knowledge military history, modern control systems, aircraft (especially helicopters), vehicles, weapons, tactics. Marksman; never hunts animals. Good cook.

Experience - Railway lengthman, Piccadilly waiter, Madison Avenue adman, Vogue fashion artist, photographer R.A.F. Mosquitoes, manager Aldgate gown factory. Seen Vista-Vision blue films in pre-Castro Cuba, typhoon in Tokyo, hurricane passing New York. Given talk over Soviet radio. Once fell into Hong Kong harbour, fatty tissue saved him.

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