drawing by marguerita
As for literature, it was more or less over, he declared more than once, and he had reached a point where he no longer much cared. He became a sort of connoisseur of decline, in fact.
America is “rotting away at a funereal pace,” he told The Times of London in 2009. “We’ll have a military dictatorship pretty soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together.”
In 2003 Mr. Vidal and his companion, Mr. Austen, who was ill, left their cliffside Italian villa La Rondinaia (the Swallow’s Nest) on the Gulf of Salerno and moved to the Hollywood Hills to be closer to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Mr. Austen died that year, and in “Point to Point Navigation,” his second volume of memoirs, Mr. Vidal recalled that Mr. Austen asked from his deathbed,
“Didn’t it go by awfully fast?”
“Of course it had,” Mr. Vidal wrote.
“We had been too happy and the gods cannot bear the happiness of mortals.”