Sunday, September 15, 2013

the last book I ever read (Zuckerman Unbound by Philip Roth, excerpt three)

from Zuckerman Unbound by Philip Roth:

The first thing he saw in her dressing room was a pile of brand-new books on the dresser; three were by him—paperback copies of Higher Education, Mixed Emotions, and Reversed Intentions. Besides the books was a vase holding two dozen yellow roses. He wondered who they were from, and when she put down her shawl and went off to the bathroom he sidled over to the dresser and read the card. “To my Irish rose, Love and love and love, F.” When she came back into the room, he was in the wing chair that looked across the park to the towers on Central Park West, leafing through the book that had been open on the table beside the chair. It was Søren Kierkegaard, of all people. Called The Crisis in the Life of an Actress.

“And what is the crisis in the life of an actress?” he asked.

She made a sad face and dropped into the settee across from him. “Getting older.”

“According to Kierkegaard or according to you?”

“Both of us.” She reached across and he handed her the book. She flipped through to find the right page. “’When,’” she read, “’she’—the actress—‘is only thirty years old she is essentially passé.’”

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