More than a few people left the September 19th Paul Auster/Daniel Handler “conversation” disappointed. I wasn’t one of them, but I sympathized.
I’ve been to other “conversation” lectures and felt lucky to be a fly on the wall of an extremely brightly-lit and very large living room where I was able to overhear two intelligent people have a chat on whatever crossed their minds.
This conversation was actually an interview–Daniel Handler had questions prepared and often referred to a twisted piece of paper he held. This was all well and good, as Paul Auster was smart, frank, down to earth and completely captivating, but before the lights dimmed, nearly all the actual conversation in the audience around me was centered on Daniel Handler. How they loved his stuff. How amazing he was. How terrible one or the other person felt that they’d never read a Paul Auster book.
Mr. Auster held center stage, but Mr. Handler’s few comments were so spot on, so funny, such a momentary relief from the gravity of literature, I wished the two of them had been able to converse as friends and forget we were all there.