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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Ever nasty, ever self-obsessed, ever the worst qualities of all those he loathes, Gore Vidal was made to write a memoir.

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

I was most interested in what he said about Beat Generation writers, as I have been particularly interested in them, and he knew Allen Ginsberg quite well, and had met some of the others, including Jack Kerouacin whose book The Subterraneans he appeared as Arial Lavalina.

It is to be found in Papimpsest Creek Cemetery in Washington. By the time we reach the final act of the book, he meets with the woman Jimmie was engaged to at the time of his death. He seems egoistic and arrogant. Gore Vidal can be laugh out loud funny. Preview — Palimpsest by Gore Vidal. His gossip is wonderful and woe to those who fell out with him.

His third novel, The City and the Pillaroutraged conservative critics as one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous tore. I also learned quite a bit about Tennessee Williams; a little about Truman Capote; and quite a bit about what he thought of Jackie O. Death, summer, youth — this triad contrives to haunt me every day of my life for it was in summer that my generation left school for war, and several dozen that one knew but strictly speaking, did not love, except perhaps for one were killed, and so never lived to know what I have known — the Beatles, black power, the Administration of Richard Nixon — all this has taken place in a trivial after-time and has nothing to do with anything that really mattered, with summer and someone hardly remembered, a youth so abruptly translated from vivid, well-loved if briefly flesh to a few scraps of bone and cartilage scattered among the volcanic rocks of Iwo Jima.


I opted palimpsezt the first of his memoirs and was very glad to have done so. Vidal states his preferences, or prejudices as you wish, straightforwardly, usually with good reasons for them, and you can like it or lump it.

In the middle he once again takes a break from dizzying past memories of glamorous NY socialites and NYC beatniks in order to document present-day meetings with Jimmie’s friends. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. I think it is a sense gorre relief in letting go for good of people whose presence one no longer needs. More books by Gore Vidal. For instance, Joe Orton’s plays could never be performed again, as the diaries published after his death are explicit about why he found Tangiers in the s such an agreeable location for vacations.

His ideas about himself and others are sometimes farcical.

If the rumours about Gore Vidal are true, what does this mean for his work?

At the start of our story in the present, as an old man he meets with Jimmie’s mother. Perhaps the gorgon masquerading as his mothers overshadowed much of the story so I was always anxious that she’d show up again and lash out with malice and cruelty. Vidal would be misogynistic if he didn’t view men with equal contempt. Did he really look like that? Find a book you’ll love, get our newsletter name email. The list goes on for a while longer but I will have to be lazy and spare myself the chore of typing it.

Lists with This Book. Never mind about any of that, certainly he Burgess too, sometimes was amongst the funniest I for one have ever read, and laughter as distinguished from drunken mirth is the great restorer and humanizer.

Palimpsest by Gore Vidal

Dec 21, Adrian added it. Edith responded with gay girlish giggles. The metaphor of a palimpsest for writing a memoir is an ingenious one, and there are scraps of Gore Vidal’s well-textured parchment that are genuinely fascinating.

I went to work. Aug 01, Greg Heaton rated it liked it. I expected the society gossip.

It’s a very good read. If Palimpseat spend not enough time reading books and too much time obsessing over celebrity, it’s frustrating that, with this chapter and other sections like it, the normally maverick Vidal join the ranks he purports to be above.


And he comes up with fun devices, like excerpting passages from others’ writings that involve him, and then contradicting those other writers.


It comes as a bit of a shock to realise that this was going on when I was approaching adolescence; a reminder also, a theme often harped on by Vidal, of how dull the world palimpeest become so quickly. Mar 24, Corn rated it really liked it. Gore Vidal had connections to a lot of famous people Truman Capote, the Beats, Kennedys and he liked expounding on the impressions they made in his life.

He moves seamlessly between describing FDR’s inauguration parade, his friendship with Amelia Earhart, his rivalry with Truman Capote, and his lunch with the Duke and Duchess of W I’m not a huge vidak of Gore’s novels, but this paimpsest, and to a slightly lesser extent its followup Point to Point Navigation is fascinating and entertaining. Books by Gore Vidal. Gores life take him from being navigator on a navy ship in the Pacific Ocean during World War Two to an esteemed lalimpsest living in peace among the Italian hills and everything in between.

Vidal has a way of ending paragraphs and large sections eloquently and with palimpeest rueful but not overly wistful touch the final chapter is perfect.

And Vidal more or less admitted it himself, writing in his memoir Palimpsest that he was “attracted to adolescent males”. E ce lo fa sapere.

His go This has a surface of glitter and wit, written by a man who is as acerbic, clever and a great hater. In the end it seemed more like a coward’s excuse to not have to love again.

And there in the grass is a stone slab, bearing the names and dates of birth of Vidal and his lifelong companion Howard Austen.