Tuesday, November 03, 2009


"We long for each other...."

Last night I had a delightful conversation with Lore Segal. We sat before a small but attentive audience (including the author's grandson, who looks to have inherited her curly hair) and she patiently fielded my questions, which I read like an automaton from the sheet of paper on my lap. I loved hearing her voice. Segal has said she was "naturalized" in Manhattan, and of course she spent much of her childhood in Britain, but to my ear there is always a hint of Vienna in her inflections. At the back of the room, Kelly Burdick from Melville House shot this video clip. The audio isn't so great, but you'll get the gist of it.

I wanted to transcribe just one tiny bit, about six minutes into the clip, where we're talking about the abundance of parties in Lucinella. The characters, mostly literary types, spend much of this slender book tramping from one small, crowded, inebriated party to another. It's a natural setting for satire--how else do you write about a herd of poets in their peculiar corral?--but Segal was at pains to establish that her aims were not entirely satirical. She began with a comical quote about party-going from Emma, but then continued: "And yet, our desire for each other... well, the reason we go to parties is that we long for each other. Which is not a satirical point: that's for real. That's true. And it's funny."

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