This is a collection of autobiographical essays, most of them previously published in magazines or adapted from radio talks. "Return Ticket to Cardiff" describes Abse's pilgrimage in 1978 to visit the house in which he was born. "A Skull in the Wardrobe" and "Notes Mainly at the Clinic" draw upon the author's medical training and practice experience. Other pieces like "Pages from a Princeton Journal," "A Voice of My Own," and "Pegasus and the Rocking Horse" reveal Dannie Abse, the poet and writer.


In "The Experiment" [19 pages], one of the longest and most provocative of these essays, Abse reflects on the human propensity to follow orders, even when they contravene one's conscience and cause others to suffer. This is also the theme of one of the author's plays, The Dogs of Pavlov (see annotation in this database). While most of the pieces in this book are interesting and fun to read, but not profound, "An Old Friend" [11 pages] reads like a fine short story that probes deeply and glistens with ambiguity.



Place Published




Page Count