Point to Point Navigation - A Memoir

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2007, 12:00am

Point to Point Navigation - A Memoir

by Gore Vidal

Abacus, $120

Gore Vidal says in the opening pages of Point to Point Navigation, his second and supposedly final volume of memoir, or indeed book of any kind, that he was once a famous novelist. 'There is no such thing as a famous novelist now, any more than there is such a thing as a famous poet,' he says. Just 30 years ago 'novels were actually read and discussed by those who did not write them or, indeed, even read them'. Today's fame is in light and sound, 'and the books are shut'. This all sounds like Vidal's valediction, the final words of the now 81-year-old author of 24 novels, more than a few of them best-sellers in their time, and 11 books of essays. He also ran twice - unsuccessfully - for US Congress, and for decades has defended his cherished republic from Republican predations. What emerges in Point to Point Navigation is less a memoir than 260-odd pages of amusing, insightful and only faintly sardonic point-to-point reminiscences, something George Bernard Shaw, who reached 94, once observed 'make one feel so deliciously aged and sad'. Latest reports have Vidal working on a narrative history of the US-Mexican war of 1846-48, 'where we turned brutally imperial. Never looked back.'



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