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Saturday, March 5, 2016

No ... The Exact Right Number Of Characters

Remember that scene in "Amadeus" when the feckless Emperor of Austria (portrayed to sniveling perfection by Jeffrey Jones) rejects one of Mozart's (Tom Hulce in giddy splendor) symphonies because it has "...too many notes..."? As my brother would say - priceless.

Infrequently, a comment at a book club meeting can be dispiriting. Recently, when a participant at a meeting criticized Jennifer Egan for putting "...too many characters..." in her 2010 tour-de-force "A Visit From The Goon Squad", I literally put my head down and quickly jotted a cautionary note to myself - "Careful, Pat". And then I did hold my tongue. My Mother would have been proud.

Mom might have objected to Patrick's next note to himself at that same meeting, an approximation of Mozart's response to the dimwitted Emperor - "No, Excellency, the exact right number of notes." But I still kept my mouth shut, Mom. Priceless.

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