When Cooper reunites, after decades of separation, with the love of his life, he writes, "At sixteen I had thought Claire was the prettiest thing I had ever seen. And also at seventeen, eighteen, twenty-three, thirty. But now [deep into middle age] she was only some of the person I remembered. I had never guessed she could ever look like this. She had been awfully pretty, but now she was beautiful." In the margin of the book, I wrote: "Nota bene: To move 4 million units, fifty-something women must love me." A few pages later, the sexually awakened Claire, who had been mourning the death of her husband (not Will), throws off her black crepe to appear in a "shining silk dress of midsummer green." In the margin of my book, I wrote: "Hollywood."
Yikes. I just knew he went to a bigger publishing house and got a huge advance, but I didn't know he built in these sellable details, or let his editor include them. I think we can all agree that leaves a bad taste in one's mouth, no?
My favorite line: "The novel is a commodity disguised as an act of witness against the culture of the commodity." Metcalf shoots and scores!