In his rather sere and melancholy condition, Vidal tells some old stories rather less well than he recounted them the first time. But we also hear many unsavory details about other personalities and politicians. Something amusing and — I think — Italian…. Thanks for telling us about the problem. In addition to this, he characterised the United States as a decaying empire from the s onwards.
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Aug 03, Nick Van rated it it was amazing Simply a delight, as only he can deliver. Vidal is selfish and self-obsessed. He writes as if he holds court to the glittering socialites and society-types who swarm around him as he delicately wafts them away, and yet he is the one playing courtier - not a single name goes unchecked, not a single encounter escapes being diligently written down to reflect the style in which he operated within it.
Ever nasty, ever self-obsessed, ever the worst qualities of all those he loathes, Gore Vidal was made to write a memoir. His ideas about himself and others are sometimes farcical. He chooses to "let the cup pass unto" another candidate, who promptly wins it by a landslide - thanks to Vidal, of course.
People, places, and vocations change and flicker constantly. Their good qualities? Rarely, if ever, mentioned. Jackie Kennedy has "boyish beauty and life-enhancing malice [that] were a great joy to me". Grace Kelly at the time of her marriage is fat and rapidly ageing, willing to play princess on a rock above a casino to escape the fate of Loretta Young and Joan Crawford - that of an gasp old actress in the makeup chair before everyone else.
Even his partner of 53 years, Howard, gets nary a mention. In this hurricane of casual sex and casual friendships, the one constant is grief, which is slowly revealed to dominate the book.
By the time we reach the final act of the book, he meets with the woman Jimmie was engaged to at the time of his death. Vidal is seemingly winded by grief when she shows him a picture Jimmie kept of her in his pocket - not because of what the photo represents, but because it is curved to the shape of his body. The finest segments of this book are the earliest. Vidal has ways of describing the people and places around him in the heady days of his youth in a way that are reminiscent of an ancient Greek orgy.
When discussing his bisexuality and homoeroticism in youth he writes that "we were true pagans who knew nothing about categories. Did he really look like that? The book ends with - what else? The story he intends to convey means nothing, but a throwaway line that is mentioned almost innocuously is of interest. Vidal offhandedly writes that he has purchased a cemetery plot for himself in the same cemetery in which Jimmie Trimble was buried all those decades ago. I expected the society gossip.