Nothing Like a Dame

byatt1We spent Saturday practicing saying “Dame Antonia? How do you do” until it didn’t sound weird, and then we delivered the line to the lady at the elevator bank in the Hyatt Lobby where we were to meet her and her retired financial reporter husband Peter Duffy to take them back upstairs three floors to meet the gang. She quickly told us about the lads who rode up with them on the elevator when they checked in. Candid, they were.

“Is that champagne?” she asked at the smallish reception before the biggish one. We said it was and did she want some? “It’s the only thing I drink,” she said and then she set about meeting the fans in a very pleasant manner. No airs at all. An easy guest.

When the time came for her address, she used the opportunity to strike back at the critics who accuse her with monotonous regularity of shoveling in too many details. It’s a stupid criticism, since it’s clear within a chapter or two that that’s how she paints and that’s how she’s going to paint. And it works. She’s not an impressionist. If you hate Burne-Jones, don’t read A. S. Byatt.

Don’t miss Ed’s entry below, and be sure to follow the links. We’re going on that tour if it’s the last thing we do. But before we do, we’re going to one of our own extraordinary institutions, The Charleston Library Society, for the annual convention of anachronous libraries on the 23rd.

We should have been using this time to point out that Books By The Banks will be this weekend. Is it on your calendar? Why not? Fix that.

-Nemo Wolfe

Published in: on October 14, 2009 at 2:46 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Can you do that tour on the Stella?

  2. […] For obvious reasons we were rooting for Toni Sue Byatt to take the Man Booker this year, but we became huge huge fans of eventual winner Hilary Mantel […]


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