r e c o m m e n d e d    r e a d i n g  


I think glamour is an invented word – it didn’t exist when I was young.

Perhaps it was a combination of gloire and amour – and meant to describe

a woman who was thought or felt herself to be loved. Glamour exists

where all is present but not all is given.

                                                                                                                    Quentin Crisp

Friends of Archipelago suggest books worth reading:

Diane Johnson (LE MARIAGE, due in April, and LE DIVORCE, both from Dutton; PERSIAN NIGHTS, Knopf; DASHIELL HAMMETT: A BIOGRAPHY, Knopf):

“My first choice would be Jean Dutourd’s THE HORRORS OF LOVE, which is translated into English and was published in the sixties. It is an incredible tour de force – a dialogue running to more than 600 pages, between two men who are walking through Paris, talking about the fate of a politician friend of theirs who was brought down by an erotic entanglement. Urbaine, wise, humane, funny, even suspenseful – this is a worthy successor, as someone said, to Proust. Dutourd is the greatest living French novelist, and the only witty one since Proust; and before that? Voltaire? Laclos? People say of his THE BEST BUTTER that it is the greatest World War Two novel to come out of France.” Jean Dutourd, THE HORRORS OF LOVE (tr. Robin Chancellor, Doubleday, 1967) THE BEST BUTTER, An Extravagant Novel (tr. Robin Chancellor, Simon & Schuster, 1955) AU BONNE BEURRE: Scènes de la Vie Sous l’Occupation (Gallimard, 1986)

“Do you know Lois Gould’s LA PRESIDENTA, about Isabel Peron? Strangely wonderful. There it is on my shelf. I’ll have to re-read it.” Lois Gould, LA PRESIDENTA (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1981, 1989)

THE HORRORS OF LOVE is an abiding favorite. Otherwise I am fickle and yield to fits of passion, at the moment for Sybille Bedford. Her memoirs – JIGSAW – or their fictionalized version – A LEGACY – are riveting pictures of Eurotrash society between the wars – how many people can write about that? Or perhaps ‘Eurotrash’ is harsh – seedy itinerant formerly rich people.” Sybille Bedford, JIGSAW: An Unsentimental Education: A Biographical Novel (Knopf, 1989); A LEGACY (Simon & Schuster, 1957; Ballantine, 1966)


Fae Myenne Ng (BONE, Hyperion)

“In this glorious, posthumous work, Hannah Green takes us to the ancient village of Conques, into the world of the sacred and the simple everyday. As she and her husband Jack are embraced by the villagers, we too feel intimately welcomed. We meet the wonderful ninety-one-and-a-half year (!) old Madame Benoit, the artist Kalia, the devoted Père André, and hear stories of hardship, joy and faith, even of the mischievous streak of their beloved saint.

“It is one day; it is Eternity. Hannah’s rapture, her discovery of Sainte Foy, fills LITTLE SAINT with mysterious, magnificent light.” Hannah Green, LITTLE SAINT (Random House, July 2000) Also, her “nearly-perfect” novel, THE DEAD OF THE HOUSE (Turtle Point Books)


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