Friday, September 26, 2008
CRIPPLED MAN WITH EMPATHETIC SEXUAL POWERS
John Crowley and Marilynne Robinson's reading was tonight. It was good. Crowley read from his novel that comes out next summer, Four Freedoms. I'm not a particular fan of the title, but the book sounds pretty great. He read a section about one of the main characters, whose legs don't work from the knee down. Nonetheless, the man understands women very well and can interact with them and understand them in ways other men can't, and so he sleeps with a lot of them. The section--Crowley read for maybe thirty minutes--was funny, smart, appealing. Listening for that long takes concentration, though, and when Robinson came on, I had trouble paying attention. She read from Home, which has been highly praised. I should read Gilead. After the reading there was dinner. Some restaurant just nearby. As we walked to the table, one of the frail and pale waitresses stopped me and nervously, excitedly whispered, "The president of Bosnia is over there." "What?" I said. "Yes, him," she said, pointing at this man, who was seated casually behind us with three or four other men in dark suits and one cute young brunette woman in casual clothes. We ate some food, drank some, and left after an hour or so. Lajčák was now leaning on the chair beside his, his elbow resting on the back of it, his fist pressed into his cheek, his face, as Tom Wolfe would say, gloriously bored.