Sunday, July 30, 2006

Upon Finding Oneself in a Friend's Novel: One Approach

Anthony Powell, the Welsh author of the 12-volume A Dance to the Music of Time, appeared in a his friend John Heygate's novel, Talking Picture, thinly disguised as a Welsh writer named "Rightlaw." Here's an excerpt from Powell's review of the book as quoted in Michael Barber's Anthony Powell: a Life (2004):

There will be few readers who do not succumb to Rightlaw's charm, even though he appears for a few pages only. His considered, brusque remarks about himself, followed up by equally brusque questions about other people, make us feel at once that we have been privileged to meet a really delightful person, intelligent, sensitive and reserved. If there were more Rightlaws about, the world would be a pleasant place to live in; if there were more characters like Rightlaw in literature, novels would be a joy to read.

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