Anglican Samizdat

September 4, 2009

Authors and their ladies

Filed under: Literature — David Jenkins @ 5:38 pm

About 25 years ago I was in Miami on a business trip, staying at a reasonably posh hotel. One morning, having crawled out of bed bleary eyed and not particularly looking forward to the day’s activities, I found myself standing next to a large individual dressed in a rigidly impeccable suit wearing too much smelly deodorant; he was holding a walkie-talkie. We were both waiting for the elevator – or lift as I still like to think of it. To my left was what I took to be a hotel tart with a stunning figure and hard face.

The walkie-talkie squawked and seemed to say “Mr. Mailer is on his way”. My elevator arrived and out stepped Norman Mailer; before I had a chance to tell him what was wrong with his writing, the tart grabbed his arm, the bodyguard shoved me out of the way and Mailer, tart and bodyguard disappeared into an obscenely long limousine.

Which brings me to Salman Rushdie. At least Norman Mailer – short though he was – had the sense to choose a female companion who was shorter. For Salman Rushdie, it has taken far too long:

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