For Love & Money
For Love & Money
This collection of writing, undertaken for love and for money, is largely about books, writers and travel. It is an engrossing and candid exploration of what it means to make a living from words. Raban weighs up the advantages of maintaining an independent spirit against problems of insolvency and self-worth, confesses to travel as an escape from the blank page, ponders the true art of the book review, admires the role of the literary editor and remembers with affection and hilarity events from his eccentric life at the heart of literary London. Reading it is like eavesdropping on a humane, rigorous and witty conversation.
‘Jonathan Raban is the only person I listen to in matters of travel and books and writing in general. Reading him, talking to him as I have over fifty years, he has made my work better and me happier.’ Paul Theroux
‘For Love and Money is one of the most honest and revealing books about the practical realities of writing for a living ever committed to print and should be read by anyone tempted to labour in what George Gissing called the Valley of the Shadow of Books.’ D.J. Taylor
For Love & Money: Writing, Reading, Travelling, 1969-87
Format: 352pp demi pb
Born in the middle of the Second World War in 1942, Jonathan Raban was brought up in Norfolk by his mother, who not only taught her son to read, but shared her own delight in writing and good storytelling with him. Jonathan’s relationship with his father, who returned from the war a total stranger and a hero, and went on to be an Anglican clergyman, was much more complex. The tension between this moral martinet and his louche and feckless son seems to have fuelled Raban’s knowing and savagely funny critique of his own British culture, and to have enabled him to escape his homeland with such relish.
Raban read English at the University of Hull and was briefly an academic before launching himself as a freelance writer, becoming part of the brilliant and hard-drinking literary crowd centred around Ian Hamilton’s New Review. A freelance assignment for the BBC, recording Freya Stark barging down the Euphrates, inspired his first travel book, Arabia: Through the Looking Glass (1979). He went on to float down the Mississipi (Old Glory, 1981) and sail round the shores of Britain (Coasting, 1986). For Love and Money (1987) is a searingly honest memoir and a funny and affectionate look at the freelance writing trade, while the journey described in Hunting Mr Heartbreak (1990), into and across America, led him to settle in Seattle. The birth of a daughter confirmed the city as home. While in the States, Raban has written Bad Land (1996), Passage to Juneau (1999) and Driving Home (2011) as well as such fictional works as Waxwings (2003) and Surveillance (2006).