With a Hemingwayesque build and the distinctively rounded vowels of his native Australia, Mr. Hughes became as familiar a presence on television as he was in print.
The Rectory by Robert J. Hughes
A great summer novel set in an Orient-like North Fork setting that will sends chills up your spine!
I just bought: The Rectory by Robert J. Hughes
The Rectory is a literary ghost story that explores what happens when a young mother, whose young son has died, seeks solace in an old house by the sea. Instead she finds an old diary, an eerie book - and unexpected visitors who prey upon the grief and desperation of others.
Life is short,
art lives long,
chance is chancey,
experiments are tricky,
judgment even more so.
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
~J.D. Salinger, from A Catcher in the Rye
Photo by Simon Ingram (distributed with Instagram)
“The fiction I’m most interested in has lines of reference to the real world. None of my stories really happened, of course. But there’s always something, some element, something said to me or that I witnessed, that may be the starting place. Here’s an example: ‘That’s the last Christmas you’ll ever ruin for us!’ I was drunk when I heard that, but I remembered it. And later, much later, when I was sober, using only that one line and other things I imagined, imagined so accurately that they could have happened, I made a story—‘A Serious Talk.’ But the fiction I’m most interested in, whether it’s Tolstoy’s fiction, Chekhov, Barry Hannah, Richard Ford, Hemingway, Isaac Babel, Ann Beattie, or Anne Tyler, strikes me as autobiographical to some extent. At the very least it’s referential. Stories long or short don’t just come out of thin air. I’m reminded of a conversation involving John Cheever. We were sitting around a table in Iowa City with some people and he happened to remark that after a family fracas at his home one night, he got up the next morning and went into the bathroom to find something his daughter had written in lipstick on the bathroom mirror: ‘D-e-r-e daddy, don’t leave us.’ Someone at the table spoke up and said, ‘I recognize that from one of your stories.’ Cheever said, ‘Probably so. Everything I write is autobiographical.’ Now of course that’s not literally true. But everything we write is, in some way, autobiographical. I’m not in the least bothered by ‘autobiographical’ fiction. To the contrary. On the Road. Céline. Roth. Lawrence Durrell in The Alexandria Quartet. So much of Hemingway in the Nick Adams stories. Updike, too, you bet. Jim McConkey. Clark Blaise is a contemporary writer whose fiction is out-and-out autobiography. Of course, you have to know what you’re doing when you turn your life’s stories into fiction. You have to be immensely daring, very skilled and imaginative and willing to tell everything on yourself. You’re told time and again when you’re young to write about what you know, and what do you know better than your own secrets? But unless you’re a special kind of writer, and a very talented one, it’s dangerous to try and write volume after volume on The Story of My Life. A great danger, or at least a great temptation, for many writers is to become too autobiographical in their approach to their fiction. A little autobiography and a lot of imagination are best.”
I saw America in pictures and movies, and it was sort of a utopian place compared to where I lived. All I ever wanted was getting there. American music was the opposite of everything I heard in my own country, and there was rhythm and fun—the notion of fun was completely strange to me. Everything I really liked was from this mythical place called America.
A viewer revisits a single painting over a decade: Caravaggio’s “Denial of St. Peter,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.