Cover image for A positively final appearance : a journal 1996-98
A positively final appearance : a journal 1996-98
Guinness, Alec, 1914-2000.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 1999.
Physical Description:
246 pages : portrait ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN2598.G8 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A worthy successor to the beloved actor's earlier diary "My Name Escapes Me"--a bestselling "New York Times" Notable Book of the Year"--this new volume contains Sir Alec's journal from June 1996 to December 1998.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

There was a bitter sweetness about the first installment of Sir Alec Guinness' diary selections, My Name Escapes Me (1997). This installment, written over the summer of 1996 through 1998, acknowledges the closing of life's light, as it were (the entries begin with a visit to the surgeon to remove cataracts), but Guinness certainly isn't measuring out his life with coffee spoons. And if he is getting crotchety, he's doing it in style--he would rather be forgotten than remembered as Obi-Wan. He travels about regularly, it seems, visiting friends, having lunch, journeying to desirable vacation spots, going to the theater (preferably alone), enjoying the company of Merula, his wife, and his dogs in good time, reading and recalling literature that is important to him, and acknowledging the lives and deaths of his friends. These brief chapters/diary entries are like poems of wisdom. But too soon the book is over. It's easy to predict that many readers will love this book. Final appearance? Take comfort from the ubiquitous Star Wars concept. It may prove difficult for Guinness to escape. --Bonnie Smothers

Publisher's Weekly Review

Erudite, droll and modest, this sequel to My Name Escapes Me, written in the form of a diary from the summer of 1996 through 1998, comprises the distinguished actor's celebrations of life's pleasures great (the solace of Catholicism; a loving marriage) and small (a good meal, a devoted pet). The opening description of a cataract operationÄso successful that seeing the world "sharply and in full color" prompts the actor to "burst into happy tears"Äis typical of a book that acknowledges how powerful and how evanescent such pleasures can be. The book is shadowed with dark ruminations about the rise of germ warfare, the ethics of abortion and the arms race between Pakistan and India. At the same time, GuinnessÄmarried for 60 years to a woman who drolly blames "the aggressiveness of Donald Duck" for all that is deplorable in Western civilizationÄrefuses to take himself too seriously, and the book can be ferociously quaint. Although his greatest fame came belatedly with his role in the Star Wars trilogy, Guinness is disdainful of the films' cultish appeal, calling them modest entertainments whose acolytes have lost themselves "in a fantasy world of secondhand, childish banalities." He asks one favor of a 12-year-old boy who claims to have seen the film more than 100 times: "Do you think you could promise never to see Star Wars again?" Guinness describes his 1939 Romeo as "the worst... ever to disgrace our boards." Such puckish self-effacement comes easily to a man who thinks, upon seeing the Hale-Bopp cometÄa spectacle "not even seen by Socrates, Christ, or Shakespeare"Äthat it makes the hurly-burly of a British election year "no more than a tiny puff of dust." National publicity. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Let's hope he's wrong, but Sir Alec seems determined that this is his final appearance as author. Perhaps, at the age of 85, he's entitled to put away the pen, but many of us will miss future installments of his life and his memories. Blessings in Disguise was written in a more traditional biographical format, while My Name Escapes Me and this latest book are written as journals, though Guinness takes the opportunity to wander among decades and events as the mood strikes him. He offers theater and film lovers a charming (and at times piercingly perceptive) peek behind the curtains of the world of the British stage and screen, as well as British politics and life. He seems to have known and acted with everyone who is anyone in the theater but is so casual about it all that it's like being invited to a small party where we will know everyone, too. Thanks, Sir Alec, for inviting us along. Highly recommended for all libraries, especially those with theater collections.ÄSusan L. Peters, Emory Univ. Lib., Atlanta (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.