Writers are not like wine; most do not improve with age. For many, their first book is their best; others hit their height mid-career. The number who reach their peak – or rediscover it – in old age is vanishingly small.
Wally Lamb is back with an “ultra-contemporary novel” that deploys his gift for empathy to explore love, sadness, sexuality, ethnicity and art across two decades among a group of upper-middle class resident of Connecticut.
Literature allows us to enter another person’s mind. Often, it is the same one – the writer’s, refracted and bent through characters who, nevertheless, often have too much in common.
(This is the slightly revised text of the speech I gave at North Carolina State University to kick off its annual Communication Week).
When I was invited to speak at N.C State’s Communication Week I wondered – what do they do the other 51 weeks of the year? Is State, in fact, a monastery where everyone takes an oath of silence? Or maybe it’s just preparing students for marriage.