A Conversation with Daniel Mendelsohn author of “Waiting for the Barbarians”. February 7, 2013.
I like to drive. I’ll get in my car and drive till I get to places I’ve never been before. For me it’s meditation and it’s entertainment. Entertainment because I almost always have a “book” in my CD player. I lean toward mysteries and thrillers. I enjoy them and it doesn’t require a great deal of concentration for me to focus on the story. I’m just “along for the ride”…so to speak. One of the authors I like is Lee Child whose main character is the oh, so noble, yet incredibly deadly, Jack Reacher.
So when a friend of mine found a Q&A with Lee Child in the New York Times Book Review back in November, she sent it to me. I got as far as his answer to the second question and was stopped dead in my tracks:
NYT: What was the last truly great book you read?
Child: The words “truly great book” set a very high bar, don’t they, in the context of the last couple of centuries. Therefore I’d have to pick “The Lost” by Daniel Mendelsohn. Nonfiction, but only incidentally. It’s a memoir, a Holocaust story, a detective story, both a rumination on and an analysis of narrative technique, a work of Old Testament and ancient Greek historiography, and a work of awful, heartbreaking, tragic suspense. A book of the decade, easily, and likely a book of the century.
Tonight I’ll be speaking to Daniel Mendelsohn about his new book “Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture”, and about his translation of the poetry of C.P. Cavafy. We’ll also talk about his upcoming discussion with John Freeman at the Morgan Library and Museum next Monday evening, February 11, at 7pm.
In the mean time if you want to know more about Daniel and his work please check out the links below.
…and since I have your attention here’s one other piece of information you might find interesting. Viktor Koen, a friend and frequent guest on “Graffiti”, did a TED talk in Athens recently. Tomorrow night, Friday, February 8th, he’s inviting folks to watch the talk at 7:30 on Youtube. It will be a non-centralized gathering of friends, family and anyone else interested to watch his TED talk.