The Unknown: The Red Line.

Dinner with the Clintons was a lot of fun. Swordfish steaks with herb butter and capers. Moet Chandon White Star champagne. Potatoes au gratin.

Though there was a certain tension. Despite her charisma, we got the feeling that Hillary was mad at Bill about something. Chelsea had to act as a go-between.

After mousse and espresso with Bailey’s Irish Cream, President Clinton started to open up to us, and tell us about his favorite authors. Chelsea looked uncomfortable and tried to change the subject but without success. Turns out that Clinton was big into Updike. I couldn’t think of anything to say, since I hate Updike. Clinton had read almost every John Irving book. And he considered Raymond Carver a genius. Scott tried to steer him onto the topic of DeLillo. Clinton had read Iron John and it clearly was an important text for him. Hillary excused herself. Frank’s eyes were glazing over. Clinton was a big fan of thrillers as well, he explained, citing Crichton, Clancy, Grisham, Koontz. Dirk looked at his watch. Chelsea finished the Bailey’s, hiccuped, and made a crack about a book called Chicken Soup for the Chief Executive’s Soul. Bill looked hurt but defiant. For a second I thought he was going to go get his Bible.

But Frank pulled out a copy of The Unknown and saved the evening with a dynamic reading of Rettberg’s “A Fine Day.” Hillary came back and we ended up having a great time, downing a full seven bottles of champagne. On Uncle.



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