MEMOIRS: UNSENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

A RELUCTANT AUTHOR RETRACES THE FIRST FOUR DECADES OF HIS LIFE, PROVIDING PLENTY OF GOSSIP BUT, SURPRISINGLY, SCANT SUBSTANCE

As host of the crowded cocktail party that is his memoir, Gore Vidal is mostly on his best behavior. He seldom scandalizes his guests and rarely flings a martini into anyone's face. Courtly but gossipy, chummy but not overfamiliar, he proudly points out all the notables he has managed to attract to his soirae. Yet, while there is a good deal of pleasurable ogling to be had, Vidal's book is the sort of grand, teeming affair that leaves you feeling vaguely unsatisfied, as though you are not quite sure why he invited you in the first place.

Vidal turns 70 this...

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