Related to: 'Palimpsest: A Memoir'

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United States

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal's reputation as America's finest essayist is an enduring one. This collection, chosen by the author from 40 years of work, contains about two-thirds of what he published in various magazines and journals. He has divided the essays into three categories, or states. State of the art covers literature, including novelists and critics, bestsellers, pieces on Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Suetonius, Nabakov and Montaigne (a previosly uncollected essay from 1992). State of the union deals with politics and public life: sex, drugs, money, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, The Holy Family (his essay on the Kennedys), Nixon, and finally Monotheism and its Discontents , a scathing critique of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In state of being, we are given personal responses to people and events: recollections of his childhood, E. Nesbit, Tarzan, Tennessee Williams and Anais Nin.

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Every Time a Friend Succeeds Something Inside Me Dies

Jay Parini
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Two Sisters

Gore Vidal
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The Essential Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal

Vidal writes with ease and grace, and roams through many subjects and genres. He is a master of the historical novel, in which he has explored American history, ancient history, and the history of religion. He has developed his own style of science fiction combined with satire, and in the books he refers to as his 'inventions' he writes cautionary tales about sex, politics, art, and philosophy. He is at once a contrarion, a wise man, and a romantic. He is also wickedly funny, and often outrageous. This collection (the only single volume that includes Vidal's fiction and his essays) contains two complete works - MYRA BRECKINRIDGE, his most famous novel, and THE BEST MAN, a play about the American presidency. There are selections from THE CITY AND THE PILLAR, his early, controversial novel about homosexual love, and excerpts from later works as JULIAN, DULUTH, and LIVE FROM GOLGOTHA. Selections from the American history novels - BURR, LINCOLN, 1876, EMPIRE, and WASHINGTON, D.C. - have been woven together to provide a continuous narrative.

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Season Of Comfort

Gore Vidal
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Duluth

Gore Vidal

When two women tragically perish in a Duluth snowdrift, the one called Edna is reborn in 'Duluth', the popular television series and the one called Beryl finds herself in a 'Hyatt Regency' romantic novel entitled ROGUE DUKE. In Duluth they do it all with word processors. Meanwhile Lieutenant Darlene Ecks, strip-search enthusiast, terrorizes a barrio full of illegal Mexican immigrants until they rise up in defiance, the mayor plumbs the mysteries of a bright red spaceship and a life and death contest is waged between Duluth's leading socialite and its foremost author to complete contradictory biographies of Betty Grable. Gore Vidal's wicked extravaganza sports special effects not expected in a novel; and it poses taunting puzzles like who is the guy they call The Dude? And why is it said, 'Every society gets the Duluth it deserves'?

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Messiah

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal's satirical fantasy, with a new introduction by the author. From his long-time hiding-place in provincial Egypt, Eugene Luther tells the story of John Cave, a former Californian undertaker, his rise to power and the subsequent global impact of his new religion.

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The Smithsonian Institution

Gore Vidal

Good Friday, 1939, and T., a sixteen-year-old schoolboy, arrives at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. The museum is closed, but T. manages to slip in, and it would appear that somehow, he is expected. An old man, Bentsen, shows him around, and T. realises that all is not as it seems. As he goes to examine a Native American exhibit, he is drawn magically into the nineteenth-century world of a reservation of Sioux Indians. They like what they see of T. and immediately get the pot boiling. T. is forced to take refuge in the tent of a young Squaw. They become lovers, and she helps him to escape back to the safety of the Smithsonian. Back with Bentsen, T. explores the Smithsonian further and begins to fathom the mysteries of time travel. The Smithsonian scientists have discovered how to get back to the past, but still don't know how to travel to the future. T. puts his brilliant mathematical brain to the problem. However, given a glimpse into the future, T. sees his own untimely death, and becomes determined to prevent the outbreak of WWII...

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Julian

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal's fictional recreation of the Roman Empire teetering on the crux of Christianity and ruled by an emperor who was an inveterate dabbler in arcane hocus-pocus, a prig, a bigot, and a dazzling and brilliant leader.

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A Search For The King

Gore Vidal

Kidnapped and held to ransom by Duke Leopold of Austria after the Third Crusade, Richard the Lion Heart, it is said, was found by his faithful troubadour Blondel de Neel. But how? And what trials did the faithful and long-suffering lyricist have to overcome to find his king? Gore Vidal paints a broad, colourful and poignant picture of a man searching for his master; for the symbolic king who is the goal of man's eternal quest; for the spiritual centre of his life.

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The Golden Age

Gore Vidal

THE GOLDEN AGE is the final, eponymous novel that brings to an end what Gabriel García Márquez has called 'Gore Vidal's magnificent series of historical novels or novelised histories', NARRATIVES OF EMPIRE. Like a latter day Anthony Trollope, Vidal masterfully balances the personal with the political, the invented with the historical fact. His heroine from Hollywood, Caroline Sanford, reappears in Washington as President Roosevelt schemes to get the USA into the war by provoking the Japanese. In the novel's ten year span America is master of the globe, with Japan and Europe as colony and dependency under her empire. Against this backdrop there is a glittering explosion in the arts (we see the likes of Lowell, Bernstein and Tennessee Williams and witness the opening night of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE). But by 1950 and the coming of the Korean War, the Golden Age is over. For the reader who wants to be informed as well as vastly entertained about the last two hundred years of American history there could be no better place to start than with Vidal's NARRATIVES.

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A Thirsty Evil

Gore Vidal

From the poignant realisation as an adult of the cruel brutality of childhood in 'The Robin', man then comes face to face with himself as a boy in 'A Moment of Green Laurel': both stories combining the nostalgia and fear that haunt us all in old age. Meanwhile, in 'Erlinda and Mr Coffin', Southern etiquette is unashamedly turned upside down in a tale of amateur theatricals reminiscent of Dickens and Victorian melodrama. Yet it is in 'Three Stratagems', 'The Zenner Trophy', 'Pages from an Abandoned Journal' and 'The Ladies in the Library' (with more than a hint of Thomas Mann's Death in Venice in the latter) that we see Vidal as we know him best: cynical and provocative in these subtle tales of what was known in those days as 'sexual inversion'.

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Williwaw

Gore Vidal

A boat of the army transportation corps fights through the fierce wind of the williwaw, carrying two officers and a chaplain with its crew. Human nature and the elements move the men through their uncertain destiny. This is Gore Vidal's first novel. Written when he was just seventeen and based very strongly on his own traumatic experiences in the US Navy as WW2 reached its end, this is a compelling story of one young man's bravery under fire.

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Dark Green, Bright Red

Gore Vidal

In the tiny Central American republic of Tenango, a place of orchid--scented jungle, crumbling palaces and baroque cathedrals, the rainy season is over and the dusty days of winter have begun. It is time for revolution. In an old plantation house the conspirators meet: General Jorge Alvarez, returned from exile in New Orleans with his hothead of a son and his proud, beautiful daughter; a volatile entourage of disenchanted colonels and rebel priests; and Peter Nelson, an American soldier of fortune with his own reasons for joining the rebels. Yet when the waiting is over and the struggle for power under way, nothing in Tenango turns out to be what it seems, not even the tragedy that awaits them all.

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The Judgement Of Paris

Gore Vidal

The fast and furious hedonistic world of the jet-set commuting between the glamour centres of Europe is the setting for this famous novel by one of the twentieth century's most remarkable writers. Philip Warren is a personable young American who moves amongst the international demi-gods of wealth and status in search of himself and a future which will satisfy his part cynical, part romantic outlook.

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In A Yellow Wood

Gore Vidal
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Point To Point Navigation

Gore Vidal
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Selected Essays

Gore Vidal

Vidal has a fierce, uncontaminated sense of what's right and wrong, and he expresses his most intimate opinions fearlessly' John Simpson, Daily Mail This new selection brings together the best of Gore Vidal's essays, comment and criticism from his fifty-year writing career. With mercurial intelligence and often courageous - and outrageous! - forthrightness, Vidal explores his keystone subjects: primarily the worlds of literature and US politics; but also showbiz, sexuality and modern manners. His gaze ranges from the fiction of Calvino and Updike to the politics of pornography to the Clinton and Bush administrations, America post-September 11 and contemporary imperial ambitions. These essays are a witty and brilliant assessment of our times from the most memorable of American literary masters.

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I Told You So

Gore Vidal, Jon Wiener

"I exist to say, 'No, that isn't the way it is,' or 'What you believe to be true is not true for the following reasons.' I am a master of the obvious. I mean, if there's a hole in the road, I will, viciously, outrageously, say there's a hole in the road and if you don't fill it in you'll break the axle of your car. One is not loved for being helpful." Gore Vidal, one of America's foremost essayists, screenwriters, and novelists, died July 31, 2012. He was, in addition, a terrific conversationalist. Dick Cavett once described him as "the best talker since Oscar Wilde." And Vidal was never more eloquent, or caustic, than when let loose on his favorite topic, the history and politics of the United States. This book is made up from four interviews conducted with his long-time interlocutor, the writer and radio host Jon Wiener, in which Vidal grapples with matters evidently close to his heart: the history of the American Empire, the rise of the National Security State, and his own life in politics, both as a commentator and candidate. The interviews cover a twenty-year span, from 1988 to 2008, when Vidal was at the height of his powers. His extraordinary facility for developing an argument, tracing connections between past and present, and drawing on an encyclopedic knowledge of America's place in the world, are all on full display. And, of course, it being Gore Vidal, an ample sprinkling of gloriously acerbic one-liners is also provided.

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Creation

Gore Vidal

Vidal's historical novel set in the 5th century BC and narrated by Cyrus Spitama, son of a Persian prince and Greek sorceress, grandson of the prophet Zoroaster, and ambassador to the courts of India, China and Greece. Pericles, Thucydides, Sophocles and Confucius are among the book's characters.