Letter: Beneath Tom Rosenthal's confident manner lay a vulnerable soul

I had the luck to have two books published by Tom Rosenthal. He combined the sharpest of editorial eyes and a penetrating critical intelligence with warm encouragement and support. Working with him, I got to know and love an exceptional personality. But, as I discovered, beneath his powerful, confident manner, inside that noble head (like a Spanish grandee of the 17th century) and behind the rich, sonorous voice that his friend Rik Gekoski likened to "the voice God would use if he had sufficient self-confidence", lay a vulnerable soul.Though very much a secular Jew, Tom was intensely conscious of his heritage. Once, when we were discussing Saul Bellow's Herzog, he told me how keenly he, a proud Jewish father himself, felt for Herzog when, compelled to watch from outside, through a window, he sees someone else putting his young daughter to bed. Tom remained acutely sensitive to the slights, and worse, of casual antisemitism: as when a gentile friend innocently wondered why "you people are so keen on cricket". For once, Tom recalled, he found the elusive esprit de l'escalier: "I suppose it's because we're all so desperate to win the approval of you people."Publishingtheguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds Continue reading at 'The Guardian'

[ The Guardian | 2014-01-23 00:00:00 UTC ]
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