Just finished the Pulitzer Prize winner. So glad a colleague bought it for me as a gift.
What a stylist Greer is. Some bon mots:
.. at nearly fifty he is like those bronze statues in public parks that, despite one lucky knee rubbed raw by schoolchildren, discolor beautifully until they match the trees.
In a world where most people read one book a year, there is a lot of money hoping that this is the book…
Texting and email saved him from phones forever.
…. an author too old to be fresh and too young to be rediscovered, one who never sits next to anyone on a plane who has heard of his books.
Some kid who couldn’t even name the Beatles?
…. the lines on his face like origami that has been unfolded and smoothed down with your hand….
…. pink to his middle, gray to his scalp, like those old double erasers for pencil and ink.
No one could rival Arthur Less for his ability to exit a room while remaining inside it.
… scrambled from the sixties onto the mountaintop of the seventies, that era of quick love and quaaludes (is there any more perfect spelling than with that lazy superfluous vowel?)
… while the five finalists were chosen by en elderly committee, the final jury is made up of twelve high school students.
‘When I was young, all I wanted to read were pretentious little books. Camus and Tournier and Calvino. If it had a plot, I hated it.’
Less is not known as a teacher, in the same way Melville was not known as a customs inspector.
The city of youth, the country of age.
Less kisses her on each cheek, but she leans in for a third. Two in Italy. Four in Northern France. Three in Germany? He will never get this right.
… we each got to make one rule about the road trip. Mine was that we could only sleep in places with a neon sign. His was that wherever we went, we had to eat the special. If they didn’t have a special, we had to find another place.
Where is his editor when he needs her? His editrix, as he used to call her.
… he is who she has.
He looks up at a closed-circuit television to follow the fleeting romances between flights and gates…
Boredom is the only real tragedy for a writer; everything else is material.
For a fifty-year-old man, the boredom of lying convalescent in bed is rivaled only by sitting in church.
For a seven-year-old boy, the boredom of sitting in church is rivaled only by sitting in an airport lounge.