It’s hard to know how to read this letter of yours. Is it carefully constructed to imitate the tone of a curmudgeonly and egocentric fool, which would make it a masterpiece of parody and indicate that you have a sly and self-deprecating sense of humor? Or are you — could you really be — such a petty kind of man, one who would take an attack on his signing rate to be an excuse to start a pissing contest on the letters page of a national UK paper with a bombastic and loud-mouthed writer like Malcolm Gluck? Which is it? I just can’t tell!
Here’s a link to the “controversy.”
And here’s the letter in its entirety, as sent to The Guardian newspaper:
It’s always a delight to return to London from an arduous two-month book tour of North America to find myself being accused of “illusions” – that is, lying – in your letters columns. The weirdest part of Malcolm Gluck’s unpleasant little missive (July 17) is that he begins by saying it’s impossible that I could have signed my name 1,000 times in an hour and ends up by revealing that he did it himself. Anyone who has ever attempted to sign a lot of books quickly knows, as Gluck says, that the key is to have the support of bookstore staff experienced in the construction of a smooth “assembly line”. He tells us he had the assistance of such staff when he did it, but refuses to believe that I could have.
So let me be clear: I did not initial the books, but signed my full name; I did have the support of experienced staff at Ingrams book distributors in Nashville (and at many other US bookstores), who will confirm that among the fastest present-day signers of books are President Jimmy Carter, the novelist Amy Tan, and myself. I understand that Mr Gluck may be miffed that his own accomplishment has been equalled or bettered. That does not entitle him to accuse another writer of untruthfulness, without a shred of evidence to support the accusation. And, if memory serves, I actually signed the 1,000 books in Nashville in 57 minutes as against his 1,001 in 59, so his record is toast.