Sunday, September 20, 2020

reviews of the book coming in

This is the strange interlude in the life of a writer, when the book is out and people are still reading. But I'm getting wonderful reviews, even from people who haven't finished it yet. And from those who have. From Pat: Today I’m out of sorts because I finished reading your book yesterday! I miss it. Stupendous! Just wrote this review on Indigo:

"Having taken Beth’s memoir-writing course, it’s no surprise to me that she demonstrates all the characteristics of superb memoir: engaging scene-setting, compelling action, major personal change, believable dialogue. Couldn’t put this book down!"

Thank you very much, Pat.
And from my former acting colleague Peter, now a painter in Nova Scotia, whom I've known since university in 1967:
I'm on page 37. WTF and OMG. Know the song so well. Every note is perfect. Arts Club. Wow. Only a couple of evenings in that thick and boozy place. You have so nailed it Beth Kaplan.  AND I'M ONLY ON PAGE 37. Raw Stuff. Like a box of chocolates  - I'll do a few more pages in bed. Hope it doesn't get so scary I can't sleep. (I sleep like a log - not to worry.)  

Peter, if you stop painting, you should write!

And a French friend who's a character in the book: 
I advertise your book saying the author is like Saint Augustine, leading a depraved life and suddenly completely transformed.

I really enjoy reading your book, I am just half way through… Some very good laughs, some disappointment about the immensity of my qualities which do not seem totally acknowledged…

I wrote to reassure him that the immensity of his qualities are in fact acknowledged, he just isn't there yet. So strange that people are out there, reading about themselves. Anyone who's friends with a memoirist should beware!

Just spent an extremely stimulating hour listening to Eleanor Wachtel talk to Zadie Smith - it wasn't an interview, it was a conversation between two brilliant minds. At one point, Smith says she's reading Pride and Prejudice with her daughter; they came to the section about Darcy's magnificent mansion and she said, Ask yourself, how did the family come by that kind of money? Almost definitely through sugar or cotton. And who provided those things?

I've never thought about the origin of Darcy's money. But then, I've never thought about many, many things. Thank you Eleanor, and the amazing Zadie Smith, who is not only brilliant but stunningly beautiful, a married woman with children, an academic career, and a steady stream of books. How is this possible? Inspiring. Intimidating. Slacker alert: I'm sure she doesn't sit around reading nice things her friends say about her books. She'd be halfway through the next by now. 

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