The Wall Street Journal: Toasting Every Turn

February 2nd, 2012

The Wall Street Journal
February 2, 2012
By MIKE VILENSKY


At her meticulously decorated Sutton Place townhouse Tuesday evening, the author and editor Tina Brown toasted Robert Harris on his semi-recent novel, “The Fear Index.”

“It’s an excuse for me to have my friends around,” Ms. Brown said. “Authors need to be celebrated at every turn!”

Mr. Harris’s book was stacked in the foyer, near a wall of paintings, framed newspaper clippings and decorative photos of Ms. Brown posing with various political leaders. The array of party snacks—duck salad, fish and chips, antipasti—was exceptional; most of the guests nursed white wine while mingling in Ms. Brown’s clean and comfortable living room, weighing whether or not to attend the evening’s other literary fete, a book party for writer George Gurley.

Mr. Harris’s novel is “about this algorithm and how it takes over,” the evening’s hostess explained. “It’s totally relevant.” In media, she noted, “what used to take months to spread now happens in the course of one day. You see that in the political cycle, with candidates rising and falling.”

Harold Evans, Ms. Brown’s husband, an erudite author and editor himself, published Mr. Harris’s first book when he was president of Random House. “We go back a long way!” the author said, patting Mr. Evans on the back.

Glancing at the extensive selection of books on his shelf, Mr. Evans said he recently came had a tech-related scare when “this guy in Romania” hacked into his AOL account. He has since cleared up the situation. “This is the work I’m most proud of, I think,” he said, flipping through “They Made America: Two Centuries of Innovators.”


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