Life: Barney's Version

“Count your blessings. Readers don’t have to wait until the end volume three before I’m even born. Something else. It doesn’t take me six pages to cross a field, as it would if this had been written by Thomas Hardy. I rein in my metaphors, unlike John Updike. I am admirably succinct when it comes to descriptive passages, unlike P. D. James, a writer I happen to admire. A P. D. James character can enter a room with dynamite news, but it is not to be revealed until we have learned the color and material of the drapes, the pedigree of the carpet, the shade of the wallpaper, the quality and content of the pictures, the number and design of the chairs, whether the side tables are bona fide antiques, acquired in Pimlico, or copycat from Heal’s. P. D. James is not only gifted, but obviously a real baleboosteh, or châtelaine. She is also endearing, which is not my problem, and brings me to yet another digression. Or character flaw acknowledged.”

Mordecai Richler, Barney’s Version

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