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Solid Ivory

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781472155719

Price: £20

ON SALE: 2nd November 2021

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Memoirs

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In Solid Ivory, a carefully crafted mosaic of memories, portraits, and reflections, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Ivory, a partner in the legendary Merchant Ivory Productions and the director of A Room with a View, Howards End, Maurice, and The Remains of the Day, tells stories from his remarkable life and career as one of the most influential directors of his time. At times, he touches on his love affairs, looking back coolly and with unexpected frankness.

From first meeting his collaborator and life partner, Ismail Merchant, at the Indian Consulate in New York to winning an Academy Award at age eighty-nine for Call Me by Your Name; from seeing his first film at age five in Klamath Falls, Oregon, to memories of Satyajit Ray, Jean Renoir, The New Yorker magazine’s film critic Pauline Kael (his longtime enemy), Vanessa Redgrave, J.D. Salinger, George Cukor, Kenneth Clark, Bruce Chatwin, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and Merchant, Ivory writes with invariable fluency, wit, and perception about what made him who he is and how he made the movies for which he is known and loved.

Solid Ivory, edited by Peter Cameron, is an utterly winning portrait of an extraordinary life told by an unmatched storyteller.


Over 20 films. Over 40 years. What collaboration in any medium has lasted so long, been so successful, so personal, so happy? James Ivory met Ismail Merchant (in 1961) and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (in 1962), and one of the earliest, most durable, most independent of independent film families came to life. The widest varieties of stories (neorealist memoirs, literary adaptations, avant garde experiments) and settings (England, France, Italy, India, the Americas North and South); the broadest collection of superb actors and artists (Vanessa Redgrave, Paul Newman, Anthony Hopkins, Shashi Kapoor, Maggie Smith, Subrata Mitra!). Read this wonderfully entertaining book: a unique story of a unique life in the world of world cinema.
Wes Anderson
I met Jim when I was 18 . He was an introvert to Ismail's extrovert. I always wondered what was going on in his head. Now I know, and I'm so glad he's shared it. Jim is as eloquent and elegant with words as with the camera; here are almost a series of short stories of his life, vivid snapshots, told with an exacting eye. Every sentence is filled with his wry cadence, guided by his appreciation of things beautiful, amusing and unusual. We take the tour of his life which has as fascinating a cast and is set in locations as far flung and exotic as his films - except with way more sex. And I thank God I'm not in it. Jim is now in his ninth decade and I believe his secret elixir is a delight in life - read it and drink it in!
'James Ivory write[s] with perfect elegance...there's nothing starchy or uptight about these scenes from his fascinating life'
The Sunday Times
'Full of humour, warmth and crystal-clear reminiscences from his personal and professional life, Ivory's narrative is witty, informative, gossipy and at times eye-poppingly frank'
The Lady
'There's something rather brilliant about a man heading towards his hundredth birthday demanding more explicit sex. Ivory is full of candour and randiness...[this] book will open the eyes, often very wide'
'Consistently entertaining'
'A languid, enjoyably gossipy memoir from one half of Merchant Ivory that after a fascinating exploration of well-off, small-town American life in the Thirties and Forties, quickly gets eye-opening'
Evening Standard