William Saroyan is at his best in this witty, sad, hilarious, poetic roll call of the dead. From Busby Berkeley to Agatha Christie to Howard Hughes, each entry in the necrology of Variety magazine for the year 1976 is recalled, revivified, regaled and/or reviled by their former intimate. Others not on the list who spring to mind via various associations are here also, and thus we are treated to tales of John Garfield’s escapades in New York and San Francisco, declamations on the American theatre, Armenians (of course), and John Wayne.
“Why do I write this? Why am I writing this book? To save my life, to keep from dying, of course. That is why we get up in the morning” (William Saroyan).