Sunday, April 27, 2008

Peter Gordon on Phillip Roth (Zuckerman) on George Plimpton

Peter Gordon writes:

Philip Roth's Exit Ghost is enjoyable for many reasons. Roth even gives us a thumbnail definition of happiness. Nathan Zuckerman had been on self-imposed exile in the Berkeshire's and, on re-entering New York city life, is stunned to discover that George Plimpton had died.

George escaped his glamour without losing his glamour, only
further enhancing it in autobiographical books seemingly driven by
self-deprecation. Climbing into the ring with Archie Moore he is
simply practicing noblesse oblige in its most exquisite form -- a form,
moreover that he had invented. When people say to themselves 'I want to be
happy,' they could as well be saying 'I want to be George Plimpton': one
achieves, one is productive, and there's pleasure and ease in all of it. (p.

I remember reading Paper Lion when I was around 10. At the time, I thought it was the best thing I had ever read.

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