Re: RARA-AVIS: Gregory MacDonald is on TALK OF THE NATION this hour (National Pu blic Radio)

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 31 May 2002

Man, when I finally did try a Fletch book, I was bitterly disappointed. The author was trying really hard to be funny, but it fell flat on me (to be more precise, it sounded impossibly silly). I've never read another since. Somebody must buy this series: Salvation Army stores are full of the paperbacks. They say that humor is the hardest, and they're right. Besides, it doesn't age well (Twain and a few others excepted).

By the way, did anyone else catch the Ken Burns biographical program on Mark Twain? I thought it was well done, particularly because it treated Twain's financial problems and his ultimate loneliness and bitterness in some detail. I think Burns chose not to speculate on Twain's adoption of female grandchildren (such speculation appeared in a biography which, I recall, was thoroughly trashed by Vidal in the NYRB).

I mention Twain because he is a literary ancestor and inspiration of the realistic school of American writing.



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