Character Breakdown
Zawe Ashton

Book cover image

Narrated By: Zawe Ashton

Duration: 6 hours and 19 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

Cult heroine Zawe Ashton brings us a unique look at life, work and the absurdities of contemporary life

Zawe Ashton has been acting since she was six. She has played many different roles, from ‘cute little girl’ to ‘assassin with attitude', Oscar Wilde’s Salome to St Trinian’s schoolgirl to Fresh Meat’s Vod.

To stay sane, an actor must tread a high-wire between life and art, keep sight of where a character ends and the real person begins. So she doesn’t lose herself completely.

In Character Breakdown, Zawe scrolls through a version of her life. Or is it a version of her art? Or something in between. In it, she encounters glamour, horror, absurdity and questions like: is a life spent more on performance than reality any life at all?

© Zawe Ashton 2019 (P) Penguin Audio 2020


Memoirs, Autobiography: arts & entertainment, Individual actors & performers

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An entertaining and original memoir touching on career, life and identity. It is an enjoyable read, despite the humiliating tales of auditions or filming situations where she is physically assessed, objectified or subject to casual racism. Understandably there is an undertone of rage in her keen observations


Smart, funny, vivid, honest, dark, timely

The Times

Character Breakdown embraces darkness while also being a wickedly absurd look at modern show business


A smart, funny and well-written take-down of modern showbiz

Mail on Sunday

A very great book