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Douglas Kennedy's Writings

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Essay
Apr.30.2012
Le Figaro
A confession: I love to ice skate. It’s a sport I only took up during the past year. In fact I had my first ice skating lesson on 10 January 2009 while spending a week in Quebec City. I go to Quebec every January – as I am something of a masochist when it comes to cold weather and don’t seem to mind minus twenty temperatures. I am also a fanatic when it comes to...
Essay
Apr.30.2012
Chronique
A few weeks ago, we had a climatic curiosity in Maine. Snow in late October. Serious snow – as in 50cms in an evening. On the night in question I was bringing my children – now both adolescents – by bus to Logan Airport in Boston to catch their flight back to London, then was booked on a late-evening plane to New York. But my flight to JFK was cancelled, so I...
Essay
Apr.30.2012
Chronique
Fate is such a loaded word. We all so endlessly muse about how fate has dealt us good (or, more often) bad cards, how a random meeting or accident all comes down to the hand of God or some such divine force. A friend – talking about how he encountered the woman who became his wife when they both missed a bus on a busy London street – told me: ‘Of course someone...
Short Story
Apr.30.2012
  I was looking at the artificial limbs in the pawn shop window, thinking: that once belonged to Vietnam Vet, or some redneck who lost an arm in a piece of farm machinery, or some junkie who’d shot up his vein so full of smack that the limb fell right off. Then each of these guys ended up here, at the wrong end of the Strip, out of cash, out of luck,...
Temptation Book Cover
Apr.30.2012
I always wanted to be rich. I know that probably sounds crass, but it’s the truth. A true confession. Around a year ago, I got my wish. After a ten-year bad luck streak—a toxic accumulation of endless rejection slips and “we’re going to pass on this” and the usual bevy of near-misses (“you know, we were really looking for this sort of thing last month”), and (of...
The Moment Book Cover
Apr.30.2012
I was served with divorce papers this morning. I’ve had better starts to the day. And though I knew they were coming, the actual moment when they landed in my hand still threw me. Because their arrival announced: this is the beginning of the end. I live in a small cottage. It’s located on a back road near the town of Edgecomb, Maine. The cottage is simple: two...
The Woman in the Fifth Book Cover
Apr.30.2012
That was the year my life fell apart, and that was the year I moved to Paris.I arrived in the city a few days after Christmas. It was a wet, gray morning—the sky the color of dirty chalk; the rain a pervasive mist. My flight landed just after sunrise. I hadn’t slept during all those hours above the Atlantic—another insomniac jag to add to all the other broken...
A Special Relationship Book Cover
Apr.30.2012
About an hour after I met Tony Hobbs, he saved my life.I know that sounds just a little melodramatic, but it’s the truth. Or, at least, as true as anything a journalist will tell you. I was in Somalia—a country I had never visited until I got a call in Cairo and suddenly found myself dispatched there. It was a Friday afternoon—the Muslim Holy Day. Like most...
State of the Union Book Cover
Apr.30.2012
After he was arrested, my father became famous.It was 1966—and Dad (or John Winthrop Latham, as he was known to everyone except his only child) was the first professor at the University of Vermont to speak out against the war in Vietnam. That spring, he headed a campuswide protest that resulted in a sit-down demonstration outside the Administration Building. My...
The Pursuit of Happiness Book Cover
Apr.30.2012
I first saw her standing near my mother’s coffin. She was in her seventies—a tall, angular woman, with fine gray hair gathered in a compact bun at the back of her neck. She looked the way I hope to look if I ever make it to her birthday. She stood very erect, her spine refusing to hunch over with age. Her bone structure was flawless. Her skin had stayed smooth....