Friday, September 10, 2021

‘To My Wife’s Former Boyfriend’

A visit to a bookstore new to me in Cleveland, Loganberry Books, was productive. I found You Must Know Everything, a collection of stories by Isaac Babel that I first read fifty years ago. As with Chekhov and Malamud, it was love at first sight. Also I found a first printing of Cleveland native Herbert Gold’s third novel, The Man Who Was Not With It (1956). It’s signed “To Dorothy and to my wife’s former boyfriend. Herb.”

Inside the book is tucked a glassine envelope containing reviews of the novel from The New Yorker and several newspapers, including The Detroit News. With them is a typed, undated letter addressed by Gold to Reuben (presumably the former boyfriend mentioned above) and Dorothy. Along with it is card inscribed in orange-colored marker: “Nina Dilworth Gold, Jan. 1, 1969, 8 lbs., 8 oz., Herb and Melissa.”

Gold is now ninety-seven years old.

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