November 8, 2010 8:11 am

The Lost Diaries

 

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, one could surmise that Craig Brown admires and respects a large cross-section of famous figures. Yet this compilation of his on-the-money parodies of more than 200 well-known names (written for Private Eye and elsewhere) is perhaps less than flattering to its subjects.

The assemblage of chronological diary entries begins with a razor-sharp parody of Barack Obama delivering a breakfast table oration: “These cornflakes are real and they are everywhere. And I tell you this, Michelle, I say. The packet may have been shaken, but the flakes will recover.” Titbits follow from Katie Price, Keith Richards, Cormac McCarthy (who shares a pasta recipe in the style of The Road), Virginia Woolf, Alastair Campbell and many others.

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Although not every entry feels freshly sharpened, cumulatively they skewer the voices of these “writers” in a funny, uncanny way. A fine display of a master parodist.

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