John Peter Berger, writer and art critic, born 5 November 1926; died 2 January 2017.johnberger

It’s his book that hides much of my author-photo face for The Fat Man. The rich family in the novel is also named for him: The Bergers. I don’t mean to imply that he lived a rich life. In reality it’s the opposite, a bit of irony. He was a Marxist and the family is monied and ungenerous. He in fact gave with abandon to the Black Panthers.

It is mostly impossible for me to read his books. I have had And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos for years now. I read a little and get so inspired-excited that I go off to write or to sketch or just think. (He goes nicely with some Glenn Gould piano.) Eventually I come back to the book and once again I only get so far…sometimes the book is so long to the side that I have to start over again. And how sweet to consume those first pages again and again.


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