In the late seventies, when Susan Sontag was recovering from cancer, she hired an assistant to help her catch up on correspondence. Her editor recommended Sigrid Nunez, who began working for Sontag and ended up moving in with her. Nunez now recalls the experience with a mixture of gratitude and pain. In Dissent, a look at the economy of creative assistants.
A while back, I linked to a contentious letter between Saul Bellow and Jack Ludwig, written not long after Bellow found out Ludwig was sleeping with his wife. Now, here’s a (somewhat) less angry piece of correspondence, sent from Philip Larkin to Barbara Pym. Sample quote: “Has anyone ever done any work on why memories are always unhappy?”
James Salter reviews Paul Hendrickson's Hemingway's Boat for The New York Review of Books. Relatedly, Helena Price has been using 1000memories to compile "memory pages" to "explore the life of Ernest Hemingway as well as his friends and family." Of particular note is this poster imploring us to "Live the HemingWAY." Also related, The Paris Review shares a letter from Papa to his sister Ursala Hemingway.