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Oscar Diamond rough cut geezer

15 Nov

We went to see Donna Tartt at the Cambridge Union debating hall a couple of days ago.Apart from some TV and radio dates she is only appearing at 6 venues in the UK. I read The Secret History 20 years ago and enjoyed it. I didn’t read or buy The Little Friend but I have bought The Goldfinch which is now adorned with Ms Tartt’s siignature. Thank you, Ms Tartt. She was warm, friendly and responsive which was in contrast to her stark, austere Gothic appearance. She talked ┬ásense, discussed her writing habits, took questions gracefully, volunteered no information about her personal life and didn’t appear to have wacky ideas. I’d be very surprised if she was a Scientologist. Her couple of minders, who ensured the long queue of people waiting for ┬áher signature moved along smoothly, also stopped quasi criminal types who had the audacity to bring along crumpled copies of The Secret History (in paperback} for signing at the same time. They were told they might be obliged after the new book signings were finished and if she had enough ink left in her pen.

Ms Tartt began 25 minutes late, thanks to the Cambridge traffic apparently. We were not allowed into the debating chamber and had to wait along narrow corridors. Since we are Brits we didn’t complain, of course. An interesting variation came when the woman in front of us asked a flustered staff member about the need to keep us standing. He replied that it was difficult for him as well.She then felt obliged to make an apology to him.

Her audience comprised a varied cross section of ages from seventies to students. No-one dressed up much, It was a typical Cambridge crowd.