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Times Rubs Salt in Vidal's Wounds

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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All Gore Vidal ever wanted was for everyone in the entire world to acknowledge that his novels were the stuff of phenomenal genius, that each was as good as an organic turkey stuffed with $500-bills on Christmas morning. Over the years, he's ripped the New York Times for not giving them the proper (or any) attention; he even alluded to that in the Times, in a Q&A with Deborah Solomon. (He also rips them in general: "Even the worst newspaper in England has better book reviewers than The New York Times.") This is one of the strands of his immense and wonderful letter to the New York Review of Books in 1988: "For forty years The New York Times has, from time to time, put its collective 'mind' to work in trying to find ways of coping with my disturbing presence on the American scene." But! Nearly all the while, they've praised his nonfiction to the heavens. Grr. Well, somewhere Vidal is having a stroke, because they do it again today, in a grand appreciation of his "towering" nonfiction. WHY WILL YOU NOT READ AND APPRECIATE HIS NOVELS, YOU CRUEL PEOPLE? LEAVE GORE VIDAL ALONE!

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