Palimpsest: A Memoir

Palimpsest: A Memoir

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by Gore Vidal
     
 

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This explosively entertaining memoir abounds in gossip, satire, historical apercus, and trenchant observations. Vidal's compelling narrative weaves back and forth in time, providing a whole view of the author's celebrated life, from his birth in 1925 to today, and features a cast of memorable characters—including the Kennedy family, Marlon Brando, Anais Nin,

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Overview

This explosively entertaining memoir abounds in gossip, satire, historical apercus, and trenchant observations. Vidal's compelling narrative weaves back and forth in time, providing a whole view of the author's celebrated life, from his birth in 1925 to today, and features a cast of memorable characters—including the Kennedy family, Marlon Brando, Anais Nin, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Prolific essayist, novelist (Burr et al.), screenwriter (Suddenly, Last Summer), playwright (The Best Man), and sometime political candidate Vidal quotes the definition of palimpsest as " `a parchment which has been written upon twice; the original having been rubbed out.' " This particular memoir of his first 39 years (1926-65), says Vidal, has "many rubbings-out and puttings-in," which may explain its many-layered nature and the bare nod to chronology, with flashbacks and flashforwards and curious juxtapositions of friend and foe. In it he blithely skewers both family and friends (or ex-friends)-particularly his alcoholic mother, the Auchinclosses, John and Jackie Kennedy, Anas Nin and other literati, and too many more to recount-with nasty revelations. But Vidal is still a stylish writer, and those not put off by the mean-spiritedness of these self-serving memoirs and fascinated by the literary, political, and entertainment worlds of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s may want to read this. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/95; BOMC and Quality Paperback selections; New Yorker serial, Oct. 2.]-Francine Fialkoff, "Library Journal"
Booknews
Vidal employs his characteristic wit and the gift for turning an elegant story in a candid memoir of the first 40 years of his life. His story comes complete with a difficult family, talented friends, and interesting enemies. The cast includes Tennessee Williams, the Kennedys, Eleanor Roosevelt, Truman Capote, Joanne Woodward, Jane and Paul Bowles, and Anais Nin, among others. B&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140260892
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1996
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
414,590
Product dimensions:
5.46(w) x 8.43(h) x 1.04(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Gore Vidal (1925–2012) was born Eugene Luther Vidal, later adopting the surname of his grandfather, Senator Thomas Gore, as his first name. Well known as a novelist, an essayist, a playwright, and a social and political commentator, he was the author of numerous novels—the first, Williwaw, written when he was twenty-one—as well as scripts for film, television and the stage, including the extremely successful The Best Man and Visit to a Small Planet. His other novels include Myra Breckenridge (1968), as well as thehistorical novels in the series Narratives of Empire, which includes Burr (1973), 1876 (1976), Lincoln (1984), Empire (1987), Hollywood (1990), and The Golden Age (2000). He won the National Book Award in 1993 for his book of essays, United States: Essays (19521992). 

Brief Biography

Hometown:
La Rondinaia, a villa in Ravello, Italy; and Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
October 3, 1925
Place of Birth:
West Point, New York
Education:
Attended St. Albans. Graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, 1943. No college.

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Palimpsest: A Memoir 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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