'Plant one bamboo shoot - cut bamboo for the rest of your life.' William Boyd takes this old Chinese saying as the epigraph for this collection of his non-fiction writings. The 'bamboo shoot' in question was the first book review Boyd wrote - in 1978 - for which he was paid. The 'bamboo' he has been cutting ever since has been the millions of words of non-fiction he has written since that first incursion into the world of literary journalism. Indeed, throughout his novel-writing career, William Boyd has never stopped writing non-fiction and, as a result, this selection, covering the years 1978-2004, provides a fascinating counterpoint to the world of his novels, short stories and films. Arranged under subject headings, Bamboo introduces us to articles and memoirs dealing with the author's childhood in Africa, his life at boarding school, the beginnings of his career as a writer, the travails of a decadelong law suit against his French publisher, his time spent as a TV critic, as well as essays on literature, art and film. The collection provides a compelling, and often surprising, gallery of characters and subjects, ranging from Charlie Chaplin to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, from Pablo Picasso to the abiding allure of the British caff.