Onlookers: Stories by Ann Beattie:
“You knew him?” At Cornell, she’d read a book Steegmuller had written about Flaubert. It had been assigned by her favorite professor, Alison Lurie, who was lucky enough to spend winters in Key West. She’d probably known the anagrams players. Robbie actually knew the biographer? How amazing.
“Friend of Peter Taylor’s. Our local Charlottesville writer—those times he wasn’t off at Harvard. You know Peter Taylor’s work?
“My friend Jeannette’s a big admirer, but—”
“Well, get on it! He won the Pulitzer. Wrote about how the fold in Memphis didn’t understand the folks in Nashville, and vice versa. His wife was a brilliant poet, though she never got her due. They lived in Faulkner’s house on Rugby Road. Very convivial people. His real name was Matthew, but when he was a baby, somebody gave him the nickname Pete, and Pete stuck.
Convivial, there’s a word you don’t hear anymore.”