Make Believe: A True Story

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Granta Books, Oct 4, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 160 pages

In Make Believe, Diana Athill, acclaimed author of Instead of a Letter and Stet, remembers her turbulent friendship with Hakim Jamal, a young black convert to the teachings of Malcolm X, whom she met in London in the late 1960s.

Despite a desperately troubled youth, he became an eloquent spokesman for the black underclass, was Jean Seberg's lover and published a book about Malcolm X, before descending into a mania that had him believing he was God. A witness to his struggles, Diana Athill writes with her characteristic honesty about her entanglement with Jamal, Jamal's relationship with the daughter of a British MP, Gail Benson, and Jamal's, and separately Gail's, eventual murders.


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User Review  - bodachliath -

A curious little memoir which I find difficult to assess. I picked it up in a small independent bookshop just because it looked interesting, and I was aware of Athill's recent reputation as a grand ... Read full review


User Review  - Kirkus

Athill, a veteran London editor who 25 years ago published the autobiography of a black American militant, offers an engrossing account of their friendship—an account written with the same openness ... Read full review


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About the author (2012)

DIANA ATHILL was born in 1917. She helped Andr Deutsch establish the publishing company that bore his name and worked as an editor for Deutsch for four decades. Athill's distinguished career as an editor is the subject of her acclaimed memoir Stet, which is also published by Granta Books, as are five volumes of memoirs, Instead of a Letter, After a Funeral, Yesterday Morning, Make Believe, Somewhere Towards the End and a novel, Don't Look at Me Like That. In January 2009, she won the Costa Biography Award for Somewhere Towards the End, and was presented with an OBE. She lives in London.

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