Friday, January 17, 2014

the last book I ever read (The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, excerpt thirteen)

from Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch:

“Well—he’s altogether charming. That is to say, he knows absolutely everyone . . . claims an Astor connection as well as the Washington Irving one, and who’s to say he is wrong? Some of us have found it interesting that many of the connections he invokes are dead. That said, Havistock’s delightful, or can be. Very very good about visiting the old ladies—well, you heard him just now. Perfect trove of information about New York history—dates, names, genealogies. Before you came up, he was filling me in on the history of every single building up and down the street—all the old scandals—society murder in the townhouse next door, 1870s—he knows absolutely everything. That said, at a luncheon a few months ago he was regaling the table with an utterly scurrilous story about Fred Astaire which I don’t feel can possibly be true. Fred Astaire! Cursing like a sailor, throwing a fit! Well, I don’t mind telling you that I simply didn’t believe it—none of us did. Chance’s grandmother knew Fred Astaire back when she was working in Hollywood and she said he was simply the loveliest man alive. Never heard a whisper to the contrary. Some of the old stars were perfectly horrible, of course, and we’ve heard all those stories too. “Oh,” she said despairingly, in the same breath, “how tired and hungry I feel.”

“Here--” feeling sorry for her, leading her to an empty chair—“sit down. Would you like me to get you something to eat?”

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