By All Means, Please Buy My New Book, “The Feud”!

Here are some of the many wonderful reviews:

Publishers Weekly:

In this intriguing and melancholy chronicle, Boston Globe columnist Beam (Gracefully Insane) traces the rise and fall of the friendship between Edmund Wilson and Vladimir Nabokov. The two men met in 1940, when Nabokov’s cousin pleaded with Wilson, an eminent critic and writer, to help Nabokov, a recent émigré from Russia to the U.S. Among other things, Wilson commissioned reviews from Nabokov, helped him secure a Guggenheim Fellowship, and introduced him to prominent editors. Over the years, the two spent holidays together with their families, exchanged affectionate correspondence, and even collaborated on a translation of Alexander Pushkin’s Mozart and Salieri. By the time Wilson died in 1972, it had all fallen apart. The main cause was Wilson’s scathing review of Nabokov’s 1,895-page, hyperquirky translation of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (one of his many criticisms was Nabokov’s choosing the obscure term “sapajous” over the logical translation choice, “monkeys”), which began a protracted war of words between the two. Beam’s book evokes the strangely satisfying sensation of witnessing smart people bickering over seemingly small matters. It also provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse, full of anecdotal ephemera, of how Wilson and Nabokov interacted and why. But the more lasting sensation is the bittersweetness of this portrait of a fallen friendship—at its height, Nabokov wrote to Wilson, “You are one of the few people in the world whom I keenly miss when I do not see them.”

New York Times

WSJournal (may be paywalled)

Jay Parini in the Daily Beast

and a lovely appreciation from Laura Miller in Slate





I’m on WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio,” Most Thursdays …

Updated weekly, pretty much ... Going chrono w these now, adding at the bottom.

We added a summer book club …. it’s been a lot of fun

“I don’t want to hear from callers” = great line. Questionable Judgement seems to be the unifying theme here. I’ll order these links from most recent, well, you can figure this out.

Here I am on the air with Jim Braude, Margery Eagan and Boston Herald columnist Peter Gelzenis, who tells a lovely story about me ... alas at the very end of the show. I also speak Russian, dazzling the non-Russian speakers. Listen on the WGBH website.

Each one of these has odd indiscretions, if you listen … here I say  something I probably shouldn’t about Trinity Church rector Sal Lloyd, tho you have to wait ’til the end. Also “reveal” that I’ve quit drinking … #wonderhowlongthatwilllast.

Update … still not drinking, and, even more ridiculously, gone gluten-free because Mat Gleason told me to … this was a fun ‘GBH session.

Still more “opinions” on subjects I know little about.

Trashing Errol Morris … too avidly, alas.

They Are Shooting  at Our Regiment 

Hell, and Obituary Baseball

 Dr. John Mack & other subjects

My Friend Matthew Hart Has a Book Coming Out …

He’s a sweet writer … Here is a “selling  review” in the BosGlobe.  This book, edited by the redoubtable George Gibson, is one of my all-time favorites. Matthew’s good on art heists, too.  When you choose to write about gold, it’s all in the timing. On verra … Matthew knew “Tiff” Findley, really one of the great 20th century novelists, in my opinion.