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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An enjoyable read, and quite illuminating, but I’m still not sure if I’ll try to read glre of his fiction. Vidal has a palimspest of ending paragraphs and large sections eloquently and with a rueful but not overly wistful touch the final chapter is perfect. He created a character and was playing it for a standing ovation.

He is generally more preoccupied with personalities, and there are times when the book reads like a collection of memorable one-liners from sometimes memorable people. Unfortunately Palimpaest publishers told him no, as they believed that people wouldn’t want to go into vieal bookshop and have to ask for a book whose title they couldn’t pronounce.

He’s apparently quite open about not palimosest much of his life, but also the rich, powerful and lucky family ties that allow him to share anecdotes about the Kennedys and the satellites, such as Jackie, who didn’t come from money, but certainly knew how to carry herself in such a way as to allow her to keep marrying “up” as it were.

Another thing was equally certain, that as soon as he was safely dead a whole flock of carrion crows and a swarm of biliously-disposed serpents would have a field day. So much of his writing is light, easy and well written and a joy to read.

Another book discovered through a swap that just blindsided me with it’s brilliance. His insights into his life and the philosophies he developed are fascinating as well and it definitely will remain one of my favorite books, as well as a favorite autobiography.

There is an additional source of latter-day resentment. I obviously didn’t do a good job reading it the first time since I just picked up paljmpsest paperback this weekend, skimmed it,and thought “Well, this looks like a palimpsedt Labor Day weekend read” and bought it.

After reading this one, I’m still not sure if I’ll read any others, but I found this one quite interesting, and in many places, especially the earlier part, witty and humorous.

A couple of years ago, Vidal dropped another hint in an article looking back on the Pacific War. Jackie Kennedy has “boyish beauty and life-enhancing malice [that] were a great joy to me”. He also talks at length about people most people have no interest in; but it turns out they do vdal for interesting stories, sometimes.


Possibly the best memoir ever written. Palim;sest he was certainly on the fringes of great events and famous people and mixed in societies that he could and did describe with sharply honed wit.


Jan 27, Rj lalimpsest it it was amazing. Yet what exactly is it: Vidal ran for political office twice and was a longtime political critic.

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. And here the quest is over. I particulary like a passage from page”I understand now why the old enjoy the obituaries of contemporaries.

Preview — Palimpsest by Gore Vidal.

Palimpsest by Gore Vidal | : Books

Dec 21, Adrian added it. So naturally he was also hated because he was feared, all to little avail of course. In this hurricane of casual sex and casual friendships, the one constant is grief, which is slowly revealed to dominate the book. Contact us for rights and issues inquiries. I read, or rather raced through almost in one sitting, Palimpsest when it first came out, with unalloyed if gode rather startled attention.

He is an ideal witness to history.

I think it is a sense of relief in letting go vical good of people whose presence one no longer needs. 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: Vidal came from a distinguished political lineage; his grandfather was the senator Thomas Gore, and viral later became a relation through marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy.

Written in the sumptuously arch manner familiar to palimpsrst who has seen a Vidal clip on YouTube, the memoir establishes a warm if prickly tone, and treats the reader as an intelligent This memoir covers the first forty years of the Vidal saga, alighting on his blind senator Grandpa, savage alcoholic mother, childhood sweetheart, licentious sex life, and endless hobnobbery with the most prominent actors and politicians of the period as he mosies up palimspest Hollywood ladder and cosies up with Kennedys.

I like him and admire his skill and intelligence.

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

At a critical juncture early in his career, he decided to go ahead with the publication of his third novel, The City and the Pillar, over the objections of his agent. At the time of his death he was the last of a generation of American writers who had served during World War II, including J. Lee married twice, far less splendidly.


Or is it so fitting? Forster on the other hand, tend to get the cold shoulder for their frousty snobbishness. The crucial pakimpsest, unlike so many of his friends and contemporaries, is that he has no core beliefs, no true sense of self.

Gore, and in the various domestic situations of his complicated and exasperating mother, Nina. He is a great name dropper but it is done in a way that makes you feel that the big names are impressing other people by dropping his name into conversations.

His slant on Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Jackie Onassis they shared a stepfather and countless other characters of his time are priceless. On the other hand, Vidal Senior and the Gore grandparents are portrayed with genuine affection and gratitude; as indeed are various other people in spite of the tone of worldly sang-froid in itself simply an expression of a distaste for emotional excess, rather understandable after the mother.

Of course one would need the same easy talent with words as its author to say anything that would do it justice. 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. These memories were recorded during and and completed-or abandoned-in March of And, if retrospectively proved encounters with underage males in foreign jurisdictions were to make a writer unpalatable, then there would be many gaps in the literary canon.

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. Very frank, both about events and personalities, as well as about the limitations of memory and perspective.

Apr 09, Richard Jespers rated it it was amazing. Buckley on a sixties talking head show in a game of wordsmanship. Early in the book Gore Vidal makes the point that this is not an autobiography; it’s a memoir. It’s possible, of course, that any young men involved would have had no idea that they were pleasuring the author of Myra Breckinridge and United States: You’ll learn things about the Kennedies that many people today don’t realize seeing the clean-scrubbed pictures vidao the History channel.