Jeffrey Eugenides Imagines His Favorite Dead Writers Together at a Dinner Party

This is brilliant from one of my favorite modern writers.

Longreads

You’re organizing a dinner party of writers and can invite three authors, dead or alive. Who’s coming?

First I call Shakespeare. “Who else is coming?” Shakespeare asks. “Tolstoy,” I answer. “I’m busy that night,” Shakespeare says. Next I call Kafka, who agrees to come. “As long as you don’t invite Tolstoy.”  “I already invited Tolstoy,” I tell him. “But Kundera’s coming. You like Milan. And you guys can speak Czech.”  “I speak German,” Kafka corrects me.

When Tolstoy hears that Kundera’s coming, he drops out. (Something about an old book review.) So finally I call Joyce, who’s always available. When we get to the restaurant, Kafka wants a table in back. He’s afraid of being recognized. Joyce, who’s already plastered, says, “If anyone’s going to be recognized, it’s me.” Kundera leans over and whispers in my ear, “People might recognize us too if we went around with a cane.”

The…

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