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This explosively entertaining memoir abounds in gossip, satire, historical apercus , and trenchant observations. Vidal’s compelling narrative. Vidal’s account of his first 39 years includes his reminiscences of a host of prominent Gore Vidal, Author Penguin Books $20 (p) ISBN Aside from being an essayist, novelist and screenwriter, Gore Vidal in his memoir Palimpsest that he was “attracted to adolescent males”.

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Vidal was also involved in film and television, and wrote several plays, some for television, some for the stage, and he also wrote the screenplay for several films. He exhibits remarkable equanimity over being blackballed after he published his novel The City and the Pillar in There is also quite a lot of political gossip, which throws an interesting light on American politics in the early s.

A sexual dirt file allegedly kept by one of Vidal’s many enemies, the late conservative thinker William Buckleyis said to have been thrown away after Buckley’s death, and so definitive proof will be tricky.

Book Club of the Air: Gore Vidal’s ‘Palimpsest’

I have always really liked Gore Vidal’s historical fiction “Burr” is one of my particular favorites, as well as the followup “” and I knew he had a reputation for being kind of an asshole in real life, but in this book he doesn’t come off so much an asshole as he does cold, distant, and disaffected. In this hurricane of casual sex and casual friendships, the one constant is lalimpsest, which is slowly revealed to dominate the book. Literary in its approach and style [of course].

If Americans spend not enough time reading books and too much time obsessing over celebrity, it’s frustrating vidao, with this chapter and other sections like it, the normally maverick Vidal join the ranks he palimpseest to be above. A weakness, though, of “Palimpsest” is Vidal’s decision not to discuss these books and their consequences in greater detail.

The finest segments of this gpre are the earliest. The chief enchantment of this book has not to do with the celebrated dust-ups between himself and Mailer, himself and Capote, himself and Tennessee Williams, or himself and William Buckley. The Princess had a certain claim to grandeur, the male poule de luxe par excellence of his brief time had to make his own: It begins with a retelling of the sexual perversions of John F Kennedy and Gore Vidal’s memoir just keeps giving the juicy details.


Mar 24, Corn rated it really liked it. Loading comments… Trouble loading?


Jun 22, Stephen Brody rated it really liked it. We know that the composer was a virulent antisemitewhose work became the mood music of Nazism, but it is generally accepted that performers and audiences have a choice over whether this ideological toxicity invalidates his work: Faced with a “pansexual”, culture must not become pan-hysterical.

He seems egoistic and arrogant. In connection with a new book about Vidalhis half-sister and a nephew have hinted that he may have had a secret passion for underage boys. Gore Vidal was at the centre of literary and intellectual life for half a century and wrote ‘The Narratives of a Golden Age’ series as well as countless bestsellers.

I’m not a huge fan of Gore’s novels, but this memoir, and to a slightly lesser extent its followup Point to Point Navigation is fascinating and entertaining. What I took away from it was his straightforward honesty in nearly all facets of his life and his razor sharp commentary on our modern day tendencies and mores. According to Vidal, “I have just now looked up the earliest meaning of palimpsest.

Nonetheless Vidal is a born novelist who could point a reader to the fun stuff in any life, even someone far more boring than him like Jesus Christ. I just don’t buy it. It contained overt homosexual overtones and true to form, the publishing industry blackballed him for the content. Concerning his own life, Vidal hated his mother, and had only one true love, Jimmy Trimble, whom he met at school, and they were lovers from the age of 12 until the age of 19, when Jimmy Trimble was killed in the Second World War.

Markinson rated it really liked it Shelves: Nor, even without a high regard for humanity in general, is there any evidence either of real malice or cringing self-justification, which is more than can be said for most of us too. Perhaps best remembered for his caustic wit, he referred to himself as a “gentleman bitch” and has been described as the 20th century’s answer to Oscar Wilde Also used the pseudonym Edgar Box.

He shared the essence of who he is with clarity, style and honesty. Thanks for telling us about the problem.

Yet what exactly is it: May 25, Adrian rated it it was amazing Shelves: He chooses to “let the cup pass unto” another candidate, who promptly wins it palkmpsest a landslide – thanks to Vidal, of course. Nor is there the slightest reason to suppose, as some have, that he was exaggerating in order to show off; J.


Palimpsest by Gore Vidal

And then, going back almost to the beginning, there was the matter of those initials on the dedication page of The City and the Pillar. An engrossing and beguiling read. Find a book you’ll love, get our newsletter name email.

Strangely enough, the people portrayed in this autobiography, didn’t seem to work a whole lot. He did have a lifelong companion, but according to Vidal their relationship was premissed on “no sex”. This has a surface of glitter and wit, written by a man who is as acerbic, clever and a great hater. A side from being an essayist, novelist and screenwriter, Gore Vidal was a grade-one gossiphis published writings and private conversation stuffed with rumour and conspiratorial hints.

Palimpsest by Gore Vidal. Vidal spent much of his life abroad, living in Italy and taking regular vacations in Thailand, which must raise the possibility that, like many men with taboo sexual desires, he satisfied them in regions with looser laws.

Palimpsest by Gore Vidal | : Books

What else is there to do but to mock? Even his partner of 53 years, Howard, gets nary a mention. At the start of our story in the present, as an old man he meets with Jimmie’s mother. Thereafter Vidal had a preference for casual anonymous sex, a preference which, he says, he shared with Jack Kennedy, and thought sex was inimical to friendship.

I can’t stay in his literary company for too long at a time and I’m glad I was never really in his company.

Through his essays and media appearances, Vidal was a long time critic of American foreign policy. Finally, in a memoir, there are many rubbings-out and puttings-in or, as I once observed to Dwight Macdonald, who had found me disappointingly conventional on some point, “I have nothing to say, only to add? I Told You So: An enjoyable read, and quite illuminating, but I’m still not sure if I’ll try to read any of his fiction.


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