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Biography & Autobiography Literary

An Appetite for Life

The Education of a Young Diarist, 1924-1927

by (author) Charles Ritchie

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Feb 2001
Literary, General, Historical
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2001
    List Price

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Charles Ritchie’s first volume of diaries, The Siren Years, created a sensation when it was published in 1974. Besides winning the Governor General’s Award for Non-fiction, it was hailed by reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic. An Appetite for Life, his second volume, first published in 1977, deals with his youth in Halifax and his career at Oxford—the years when Charles Ritchie turned from a callow, blundering youth into a callow, blundering young man.

As these diaries show, Charles Ritchie had a sharp eye, a keen ear, a highly developed sense of the absurd, and—despite his unhappy knack of landing flat on his face —a thorough “appetite for life.”

This is not only a hilariously funny book, but it presents a vivid picture of two worlds—Halifax and Oxford in the mid-twenties—that are now long gone. It also introduces us to an astonishing range of characters, but the most astonishing of all is the young Charles Ritchie himself.

About the author

Charles Ritchie is a Fitzhenry and Whiteside author.

Charles Ritchie's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“The lens of Ritchie’s sensibility, in all his writing, is itself so peculiarly and sharply focussed, his use of language so beautiful and so lucid, that the diaries and memoirs reshape and reorder experience and as a result transform into literature the story of his own life.”
— Jane Urquhart, Brick magazine

“We can only be left with the conclusion that, in Ritchie, Canada has found its very own Pepys.”
Hamilton Spectator

“He challenges comparison with the best diarists in the language. Indeed I can think of none who excel him in grace of language and in fecundity of wit.”
–Claude Bissell

Other titles by Charles Ritchie