Monday, January 25, 2016

Dear, you’re not that interesting a person

Heh. From Herman Wouk, the American Jewish Writer Who Wrote Huge Best-Sellers and Wasn’t Especially Neurotic by Adam Kirsch. I enjoyed Wouk's The Caine Mutiny.

I like this passage from Kirsch's piece.
In his slight but charming new memoir, Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author, Wouk shows that this description of his Judaism was also a description of himself. If ever a man lived the American Dream, it was Wouk. Through the sheer power of his imagination, he became rich, famous, and beloved, while enjoying a loving marriage (just one, unlike many writers of his generation). The only tragedy he records was the accidental death of his first son, who drowned in a swimming pool at the age of 5. Wouk has never written about this experience before and alludes to it in this book in only the most restrained terms. Overall, however, Wouk was so fortunate that, when Isaiah Berlin suggested he write his memoir, his wife—“Betty Sarah Wouk, the beautiful love of my life”—discouraged him with the words, “Dear, you’re not that interesting a person.” Wouk agreed but thought that a memoir by a contented writer might be interesting simply as a contrast: “Biographies of writers were then much in fashion, confessional books by or about Jewish authors all shook up with angst. I was not one of those, and might that not be a piquant novelty?”

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