The Book Club

Some Minor Clarifications


Do you ever sleep ? Or is it something they put in your “olde” muesli ? Anyway, in the Department of Clarification, let’s deal with what I take to be your two basic points.

1. I’m not going to waste your precious time (and mine) going over the major/minor ground again. My position is that Ian Buruma and Julian Barnes are both important English writers, the former a journalist, the latter a novelist. In the scheme of things, exactly how important they are is, of course, beyond our competence. But their work–their new books, these two books under discussion–is always, I thought I was saying, of significance. If these are “minor works,” I dread to think what kind of exchange we’d have about major ones!

2. Your “defense” of Buruma passed me by. I think I was dazzled by the bright beam of your prose.

Your application to the Groucho Club is not imperiled, though I think some of the intellectuals who gather at the bar will be rather intimidated by a writer who seems actually to have read the books he holds forth about!