I woke up this morning with the news on my clock radio telling me that Gore Vidal had died in Hollywood, at the age of 86. A good age, especially when you consider that his beloved schoolfriend Jimmie Trimble didn’t survive the fighting on Iwo Jima in World War II. You can read the Guardian tribute to Vidal here.
My first experience of Gore Vidal was seeing him on TV years ago during an American presidential campaign. He used to be given the job of commenting on the whole thing in his wonderfully witty and cynical way. He had stood for election a couple of times himself and as the grandson of the first ever senator for Oklahoma, he had plenty of information to pass on to the viewers.
It must be about 25 years since I started reading his books, his American historical fiction novels are my favourites but his memoir, Palimpsest is a fascinating read. He was a great writer, if you haven’t read anything by him you should give him a go, especially if you’re interested in American history.
Have a look at the video below if you want to listen to some of Vidal’s wisdom, you can follow on to parts 2,3 and 4 too.
It was Maeve Binchy yesterday, Gore Vidal today. Will there be a third author death this week?
Last week it was actors, with Simon West, Angharad Rees and Geoffrey Hughes (Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances).