Excerpt: Books: Feb. 7, 1983

"He was not, in fact, what he called his old Oxford neighbor [J.R.R.] Tolkien (whose books he refused to read ...), a 'monologist.' He would listen to whatever anyone had to say—although when he was especially wrapped up in his work ... he could not always absorb the sense of what was said ... During this period he got as hopelessly absent-minded as he ever has been ... When he was doing chores he would be thinking about the work ... Once when laying the table he put down knife, fork and glass for [his character] Sergeant Lamb. He did...

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