Sad Exits

June 15th, 2018 § 0 comments

The New Yorker magazine was where HG discovered the late, great writer, Philip Roth. The New Yorker published young Roth’s short story, “Defender of the Faith.” Roth recalled that he bought a number of copies of the magazine when it came out and had moments of sheer delight seeing his fiction in print for the first time. For HG, the story was a revelation. Here was a writer, HG felt, who captured all of the complexities of being a Jew in post-Holocaust, post-World War Two, America. (The story was very controversial. Roth became the object of accusations and calumny from the Jewish establishment). As the years went by, HG read all of Roth’s short stories, novels and essays. Roth was unique. He could be searching, illuminating and intellectually challenging. He could also be very funny in the style of a stand up comedian like Lenny Bruce. Almost the same age, HG often mused that Roth spent a lifetime alone in a room crafting his fictions. HG, on the other hand, had a career in noisy newspaper and wire service “city rooms” followed by mingling with office mates as HG composed a million words of press release piffle. HG believes HG had a happier time. HG read Anthony Bourdain’s first piece in The New Yorker where he warned readers never to eat fish in a restaurant on Monday. Once more, an original voice was heard. HG/BSK had much joy watching Bourdain’s CNN television culinary/travel/culture/politics series. Thought HG, if HG could be another person, HG would be Bourdain. He combined all of HG’s food, moral and political passions. Moreover, he was paid well to travel the world and explore cultures. His suicide was shocking. A man who embodied pleasure, hid some dark demons.

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