Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Robert Caro's editor comes out to take his curtain call

If, like me, you've been waiting years for the fifth and final volume of Robert Caro's Lyndon Johnson biography the announcement of the release of "Turn Every Page" can only be taken as a hopeful sign.

It's a documentary about the relationship between Caro and his editor Robert Gottlieb, who can also boast that he has been the midwife of such trifles as "Catch 22", that he's edited both John Le Carre and Len Deighton, Toni Morrison as well as Doris Lessing, no end of Presidents and hyper-temperamental bigwigs and is also presumably the only person in the world who really knows how Bob Dylan's "Chronicles" came to be.

Gottlieb's ninety-one and still working. Caro's a mere eighty-five.

I can't wait, which is an expression use far too freely these days. My guess is we'll come out of it rooting for the editor.

1 comment:

  1. Gottlieb came out as expected - what a formidable mind, and such joie d'vivre. But how courteous and forthcoming was Caro? Both displayed such joy at their chosen role, and affection for the other. I was surprised by just how much pencil work Gottlieb did to Caro's copy. I wonder he edited novels in a similar fashion. It certainly made you want to read more from both, and root for Caro to get to the finish line. I'm sure Mark Lewisohn is haunted by William Manchester (who never finished his Churchill epic) and Caro. Gottlieb's anthology of great jazz writing by others, 'Reading Jazz' (c. 1999) is full of riches.