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The Columnist

The Columnist

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It a cocktail party, George H. W. Bush encourages Brandon Sladder, the prominent Washington columnist, to write his memoirs. Sladder has, after all, known just about everyone of importance. He has talked on intimate terms with world leaders, been a witness to enormous change, and expressed weighty opinions on important matters of state. He believes that his own life story could add much more than a footnote to our age. But what is meant to be a look back at his life and our times turns out to be far more revealing.
The Columnist is Sladder's attempt to burnish his image for posterity. What emerges is something else: the misadventures of an irresistibly loathsome man -- self-important, social climbing, dangerously oblivious. He seems to be remarkably destructive to those who know him best -- employers, rivals, lovers, and family. In Brandon Sladder, Jeffrey Frank has created one of the most memorable rogues in contemporary fiction.
By turns hilarious and dismaying, The Columnist is a dead-on, elegantly written portrait of the media and politics of the second half of the twentieth century.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743217941 | 
  • August 2001
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Chapter One

My father, as he lay dying, was astounded when I told him that I was writing a memoir, with its claims on the tradition of a Bildungsroman, and perhaps he was right to be skeptical. What is ordinarily wanted from someone like me are observations about consequential people, and certainly I have my impressions of famous men and women, and how it was to be quite near them for a time. I will get to that. But there are other matters that need explanation, wounds that still require stitches.

I'm in my study on a bright day in October at the end of the century. On my shelves are the mementos that one collects... see more

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