Of a Certain Age by Naim Attallah - review by William Trevor

William Trevor

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Of a Certain Age

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Once upon a time there were no interviews and no interviewers. Now, they constitute an industry. In artificial tête-à-tête on television and radio, in newspapers and magazines, privacy is invaded by a curiosity that is often impertinent, yet the experience of being questioned in this manner is willingly undergone. Theatrical and film people submit themselves because in show business any shaft of limelight, however ephemeral, is better than none. Sporting figures seize the opportunity in the hope of being able to show that they possess normal intelligence. Self-regarding businessmen believe it should be widely known that their journey to the top was tough since that makes them more remarkable than anyone had ever thought. Politicians smile away their slipperiness, not answering the questions but demonstrating instead that their mistakes weren't mistakes after all. Novelists hype their books.

As well, there is a minority of people, apparently free of vanity or the desire to peddle their egos, who permit this poking and grubbing about in their lives by a stranger simply because they enjoy conversation in whatever form it comes, and who regard even the most threatening 'in-depth'

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