I read quite a bit of Le Rouge et le Noir. But I was a bit distracted by my own finances. Of course all these nineteenth century novels have a lot to do with sex and money, and this one’s definitely no exception. These are two things I’ve got desperately little of at the moment, and the future doesn’t look much brighter. I have to concede that I am at the age where if there was going to be a fortune made it would be well on its way to being made by now. And as for sex, it’s not over—in fact, I really do believe it’s possible the best years lie ahead, but I will always look back on the years I lost with regret. I can fill up the years ahead with lovers, if I want (and if I move on from this wasteland), but I can never fill up the years behind.

Memory is a funny thing, always playing tricks on us. You start thinking of youth in very general terms, when yours was actually a very specific youth. I had abundant possibilities for sex at an early age (from fifteen or sixteen), but it could not have been lovely. By now I have experienced it in all of its various applications, strange to say, and I know what should have been possible at that age, and what is in fact possible at that age, generally speaking, but which was not possible for me at that age...


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