Friday, June 01, 2007


Earlier today, I traveled the red line to meet Sunshine at Politics and Prose,* a bookstore up the northwestern hypotenuse of Connecticut Avenue just west of historic Tenleytown. Politics and Prose is noted for having a great guest speaker program: we just missed Al Gore* on Tuesday and Zbigniew Brzezinski* last month, among others. This is where we saw China MiƩville* back in March.* Today, we were there to see Michael Ondaatje* read from his new novel.* Before the show, I discovered a nice, spare little Italian bistro sharing a store front with an Asian hair-and-nail place. I had a panini and spinach salad while finishing Robertson Davies'* exceptional Fifth Business (the first book of his Deptford Trilogy*). To put this into some perspective: this month I have read Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle,* Graham Greene's the Human Factor,* and Shirley Jackson's Life Among the Savages;* each is, in its way, a feat of easy-handed humanity to some degree tuned to a fine existential humor of precipitous insight--and without too much consideration I can say I liked Fifth Business best of all. I liked it so much that I kept ordering tea refills so I could finish before heading on to the bookstore, almost arriving late. As it happened, I was just able to see Mr. Ondaatje from the back of the crowd, framed by two silver-haired gentlemen in pastel golf shirts and lopsided belts. The reading was terrific, and the writer of the English Patient* was as amiable and down-to-Earth as he could be during the question-and-answer session afterwards. An hour later the crowd broke to the left of the store to start the line for book signing. It was too long for us: we slipped out to eat Asian fusion in Dupont Circle instead of waiting. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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