It is tempting for a successful writer to suppose that anything connected with himself must be important or interesting to others: a temptation that, thanks to social media, has spread to a large part of the population. Notwithstanding the title of his memoir, A. N. Wilson is a successful writer, having published forty books of fiction and non-fiction, many of them highly praised; the public therefore will be intrigued as to the source of his meritorious productivity.

The title is artful and ambiguous. If it had referred to failed promise it would have implied ability or talent to which the author had not lived up; if it had referred to broken promises it would have implied a serious defect of character. As it is, it implies something in between the two, and there is always a suspicion that, when someone refers to his supposed failures or...


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