Wednesday, 1 August 2012
RIP: Gore Vidal
He will be remembered (and missed) as much for his barbed wit, his put-downs and his spats with other writers (Mailer, Capote, William F. Buckley) as for his writing. Born into a Washington 'dynasty' he ruthlessly pilloried every president from FDR to George W. His epic cycle of political novels began crisply with Washington DC (1967) and ended flatulently with The Golden Age (2000) and included three of the most outstanding American historical novels of all time: Burr, 1876 and Lincoln. Personally, I was more an admirer of the brilliantly outrageous Hollywood comedy Myra Breckinridge and its sequel Myron. Duluth was also a joy to read.
His best-remembered quotes include such gems as "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little." and "No good deed goes unpunished." Here's one of my favourites: "There is no such thing as a homosexual or a heterosexual person. There are only homo- or heterosexual acts. Most people are a mixture of impulses if not practices.".
It doesn't have to be true but it reads well. Gore's life was like that.