Molly Black's Reviews > Palimpsest

Palimpsest by Gore Vidal
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's review
Aug 12, 2010

it was amazing

Another book discovered through a swap that just blindsided me with it's brilliance. I've read it several times due to the layering technique that Vidal uses.

He's (apparently) quite open about not only much of his life, but also the rich, powerful and lucky family ties that allow him to share anecdotes about the Kennedys and the satellites, such as Jackie, who didn't come from money, but certainly knew how to carry herself in such a way as to allow her to keep marrying "up" as it were.

I found it quite amusing that he chose for his title the very same one that Nabakov wanted to use for his collection of autobiographical stories. Unfortunately Nabakov's publishers told him no, as they believed that people wouldn't want to go into a bookshop and have to ask for a book whose title they couldn't pronounce. So Vidal got to use it and appear even more erudite.

His insights into his life and the philosophies he developed are fascinating as well and it definitely will remain one of my favorite books, as well as a favorite autobiography. Highly recommended, in other words.

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