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.

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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