in an excerpt from her new memoir (they're at the Frankfurt Book Fair...):
I remember him as big and blond and enthusiastic. I know he pulled the comforters to the floor and it was there that we tangled. Whatever people may say of the delights of adultery, there are always these extra people in the room observing. You are playing to them more than to your partner. And all the while your demon is mocking you.
'You couldn't be happy with me - you had to drag this big blond one to bed? You'll live to regret it. The wife's a problematic enemy - or soon will be. What a pathetically easy lay you are - a few handwritten notes and you fall into bed? Or onto the floor? What's the matter with you?'
'But isn't he cute?'
'Cute and a token will get you on the subway. Besides he's not cute enough for all the trouble this will cause! You and Jonathan may have an 'open marriage' - if such a thing exists - but the Stewarts are thoroughly bourgeois. He cheats and she pretends not to know. They live in Westport, after all. Wait and see! You just wanted to show her who's boss. But she'll get you.'
This demon sounds suspiciously like my father, but he is always, alas, right.
Right before I left for summer school in Florence, when I was nineteen, my father said, 'I have one piece of advice for you: Never drink grappa with an Italian man.'
Of course that was the very first thing I proceeded to do after Italian literature class at the Torre di Bellosguardo. In fact, I defiantly drank grappa with every Italian man I met. I drank grappa on trains, on motorcycles, in little bars along the Arno. Later on, when I was older, I drank grappa on vintage sailboats and in grand hotels. I am not sorry for my defiance - only grateful I survived it without catching any communicable diseases.
(Thanks to Alice for the link--and that's definitely a blog you should go and take a look at if you haven't already....)