Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Happy Birthday, Judy!

Martha told me she heard this morning on "Writer's Almanac" that today is Judith Krantz's birthday. (I guess there is hope for NPR.) There are lots of writers I admire, respect, enjoy, but Krantz is the one I love the most. It's not the sex and clothes (although she writes well about both) but the easy, generous, and amused tone of her narration and the ladylike swagger with which she employs four-letter-words. I had the great pleasure of talking with Krantz once for several hours for a Booklist interview, and she told me she had to give up using the c-word after her first novel, Scruples, because it was the one word her "ladies" (as she called her readers) positively hated.

Any Krantz novice should begin with Scruples, of course; after that I would most highly recommend Till We Meet Again (two French sisters, one a pilot and the other a movie star, and their mother, a star of the Paris music hall who becomes a great ch√Ętelaine of Champagne) and Dazzle (gorgeous and impetuous photojournalist with two scheming half-sisters). Any one of them would be perfect for your journey to Philadelphia tomorrow.

Odd trivia: Did you know that Judith Krantz was sister-in-law, via her brother, publisher (and acidhead) Jeremy Tarcher, to the late Shari Lewis?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I 'm so glad you mentioned Shari Lewis. I was just thinking about that very thing as I read your post.

How did I know that piece of trivia? Because way back in the early 80's I went to the Globe Book Festival and Shari Lewis was a speaker whose session I attended (I grew up with her original show and adored her, Lambchop, Charlie Horse and Hushuppy).

I hope I remember this correctly, but I think she had just come out with a book called , "One Minute Bedtime Stories" and when she was taking questions from the audience, someone asked why her own husband didn't publish her book. She answered something to the effect that he didn't even publish his own sister's books, like "Scruples!"

Several years later I was thrilled to see her back on TV. I still cannot think of another ventriloquist with her skill. And I especially always loved the fact that Lampchop was a bit of a smartass. Barbjn