From Arthur W.A. Cowan:
I said, "Oh, shut up, Arthur."
And he did, but that night as he paid the dinner check, he wrote out another check and handed it to me. It was for a thousand dollars.
I said, "What's this for?" "Anybody you want."
I handed it back.
He said, "Oh, for Christ sake take it and tell yourself it's for putting up with me."
"Then it's not enough money." (P.235)
Toward afternoon I telephoned the New York Zoological Society of which I was a member. I had a hard time being transferred to somebody who knew about turtles. When I finished, the young voice said, "Yes, the Chelydra serpentina. A ferocious foe. Where did you meet it?"
"At a literary cocktail party by a lake." (P.278)
Considering the period, the one-liners are quite sharp; the portrait that obviously stands out the most is "Julia," the 'supposed' friendship that developed between Hellman and a Freud disciple who happened to be an anti-facist supporter - a 'friendship' that later formed the basis for the Academy Award-winning film of the same title. Whether the story is fact or fiction, that is up for the reader to decide. Whether "Julia" represented a single woman or a group of dedicated individuals fighting to stop/lessen the evils of war whom Hellman truly admired and who thus wanted her name associated with, may also never be known. But what can be said of the Julia portrait is that it is a written down homage to a person or persons who tried to make a positive difference in that dark epoch of our global history.
What did you think of this review?