Saturday Miscellany

The New York Times Book Review‘s Web site excerpts the first chapter of Charles Bock‘s Beautiful Children.

Financial Times profiles James Wood. The critic was no fan of D.C., which was home to his long-time outlet, the New Republic, before he recently jumped to the New Yorker:

“It’s a dead place,” says Wood. “Unless you are going to conquer it like something out of a Balzac novel, or climb the political world, it’s dead, totally dead.”

The article also includes some of Wood’s more pointed assessments, like his take on Tom Wolfe‘s A Man in Full:

Unfortunately, Wolfe’s characters only feel one emotion at a time; their inner lives are like jingles for the self. As Picasso had his Blue Period, so Wolfe’s characters have their Angry Period, or their Horny Period, or their Sad Period. But they never have them at the same time, and so the potential flexibility of the stream of consciousness, precisely its lifelike randomness, is nullified.

Theodora Keogh’s stepdaughter notes in the comments of my brief item on Keogh’s death that the Charlotte Observer piece I pointed to wasn’t an obit. True enough: What I linked to was an appreciation. The Observer‘s obituary was published on Jan. 8. Clearly, I’m not the Keogh expert. Brooks Peters, however, very much seems to be.

We’ve All Missed the Boat on Theodora Keogh

An item in GalleyCat today about the recent death of novelist Theodora Keogh led me to hit ProQuest to see if there was much in newspaper archives on her aside from the London Telegraph obituary and the obit in the Charlotte Observer. Nothing doing, really, except for a mention in a 2004 Utne piece by Michael Bronski on pre-Stonewall gay pulp fiction:

From Knock on Any Door, I naturally went to [Willard] Motley’s other books. The flyleaf advertisement on Let No Man Write My Epitaph for “other books you will enjoy” led me to Theodora Keogh’s 1950 The Double Door, about a married gay man who leads a double life. After some hunting, I finally found a copy on eBay. I read her 1952 novel Street Music, which also has overt gay male themes, and her 1949 Meg, a story with lesbian overtones, about a rich New York girl who joins a street gang. I knew even less about Keogh than I did about Motley, so I did a quick Internet search and learned that Keogh, the granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt, had been a highly respected novelist who became famous for her “daring” themes.