Friend in the End
I read Vivian Gornick’s review of the new biography of Diana Trilling with much interest [“Getting Even,” June 19/26]. I knew Diana Trilling well and wrote about our friendship in one chapter of my forthcoming memoir, She Read to Us in the Late Afternoons: A Life in Novels. We met by accident in Venice and became friends in New York City; a generation younger than she, I immediately recognized her as the wise woman I was looking for, with whom I could talk about anything.
Years later, as her macular degeneration worsened, she told me her greatest sorrow was that she’d never again read Proust. So we set out together to read the whole of À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, a project that took us six years to complete and that, week by week, deepened our intimacy. No question Diana was a warrior, and a fierce one, right to the end. She was also hilariously funny and often changed her opinions. In the last years of her life, with bleak honesty, she mulled over how she’d been seen by others. She told me that when she was starting out, she’d written a scathing review of a novel by Eudora Welty, but that Welty had forgiven her. “I was just showing off,” Diana said. “I needn’t have been so harsh.” At the last, Diana achieved a rare happiness, an enviable self-understanding that saw her through.
new york city
John Nichols is one of my favorite writers, but I strongly disagree with his argument in favor of Democrats pushing to impeach Donald Trump [“For Impeachment,” June 19/26]. His incomplete analysis ignores Vice President Mike Pence and fails to compare a Trump-for-Pence trade. Nichols erroneously implies that the only reason some progressives oppose impeachment is to improve our electoral chances. This ignores two other critical reasons:
First, Pence would successfully enact much more right-wing policy, as he is a true believer, much more competent, and would get a public-opinion honeymoon for rescuing the country from a lunatic. Pence would be much more likely, for example, to cut Social Security, enact national right-to-work legislation, eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, and try to restrict gay marriage.