I haven't received any snail-mailed hating stuff, and there's been no rock with a message thrown through the window, and alas, not one pilgrim has shown up at the door of the Duffler looking for soup or a signature, but I did receive this intriguing note by
e-mail earlier in the week.
Dear Alex -
I've been meaning to write you for well over a year, having read F.F.Y.L.D. at that
time. I had a mixture of praise and a word of constructive criticism or two. Life
being what it is - I now find that all that time has passed, and I can't remember
what the hell I had to say, save for a pleasant memory of the book, of course.
But your work has been sitting on my desk for the better part of 9 months, and in an
effort at reorganizing my office - to say nothing of sending along some non sequitor
of praise for your work -I thought the story of how I picked up your novel in the
first place would do.
At the time, I was a whirling dervish of agony, recovering from a horrible breakup
with an English professor at one of the very universities you write about, and was
doing my level best to recover from the same: match.com dates with puerto rican tap
dancers, a bent elbow, therapy - the whole kerfluffle. Progress was perambulating
at the pace of molasses in December, and I thought one depressive morning in the
215, "What else cures a broken heart? LITERATURE!"
Later that afternoon after court, I scampered into Joseph Fox on Sansom Street, and
there behind the counter sat perhaps the most beautiful manifestation of saleswoman
imaginable - a Joseph Fox employee, mousey in diminutive stature, but nonetheless a
colossal beauty in black, with pearls and cat-eye glasses that promised sweet
salvation from the pain I was enduring.
She asked how she could help. I said, "There's no other way to say this. I broke
up with an English professor, and I'm devastated. Therapy, talking with friends,
booze - nothing's working, and this morning I thought literature might do..." She
jumped. "My god. Have you read Madame Bovary?" And she just about leapt the
counter in a single bound, aurally holding my hand with compassionate suggestions.
"Oh my. That won't be enough. Surely you know Haruki Murakami?" On and on she
went, walking me back and forth in the store. Kundera. Some really obscure Russian
literature. More Murakami.
And then I said to her, "Do you have anything about recovering from neurotic
And that, good sir, is how I came to have the signed copy of F.F.Y.L.D. that I now
have in my hand.
A Philadelphia Barrister
I'd say that this attorney has a gift for language and anecdote, but alas, he didn't send money.
Have a good friday.
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