It’s good to have good friends. A very good friend confirmed recently what I was feeling about a very medium dress. It’s not easy to deliver difficult news. Fortunately, I don’t have to do that today.
My friend, Whitney Terrell, has written a book. The Good Lieutenant is not his first book, but it’s certainly his best book. I would have read it start to finish regardless, though I was skeptical that I would be engaged by a war book. A book about Iraq. Not that he had anything invested in my reading, he assured me that it’s a love story. He knows that’s a good hook for me. The book is beautifully, and seamlessly, told in reverse order. This unusual construction is not difficult to follow in the least and provides an interesting perspective on the development of his characters. I started reading Saturday and was awake until two-thirty this morning, captivated by their story.
Whitney was embedded twice in Iraq and reported his experiences for the Washington Post. He raises questions about how we define bravery and valor, but he doesn’t preach. It is always a very human story. A bright and educated friend of his said, “I finished the book and turned it over to read the first chapter again.” It is the sort of book that you don’t want to be over, even at two-thirty in the morning.
You can find The Good Lieutenant here. Reviews from Men’s Journal here and the Washington Post here.
I met Paul Vandekar a few years ago at the Laurintzen Garden Show in Omaha.
We bonded over a Leeds horse and I’ve been on his mailing list ever since.
I can’t remember when I met Piero Fornasetti, but it might have been hanging around Grace’s dining room. I can still see that heavenly wall of the artist’s portraits of Lina Cavalieri against the rich russet walls.
Regardless, it was charming to see them again in Mr. Vandekar’s catalogue.
Pick a favorite or build a collection, either way it would be a cheeky addition to any interior.
Piece by piece or in sets. Here.
I’m just back from picking up the oldest, who recently finished his freshman year in college. He’s studying architecture, but from the state of his room, not overly concerned with preservation of space. We took a bit of a boondoggle to Fallingwater and Monticello on the way home, which were not on the way home in the least, but sometimes I get an idea that I can’t quite let go.
The idea of this trip had been percolating for a while, though it came together about two weeks before I picked him up. All travel involves inconvenience. It is the measure of the joy that it brings that enables us to consider it worth it or not. This was worth it.
More on that later, but one of the major upshots of this trip was, “Travel more. Plan a little, then go.” Honestly, this is the upshot of nearly every trip I take, but then I get distracted by routine.
I came home to a mostly clean house with Casa Mexico waiting for me on the dining room table. Hot climates with spicy, messy food and cool tile floors always appeal. Being captured by the incredibly talented Annie Kelly and Tim Street-Porter, made the homes of artists, designers, architects and aesthetes more appealing, if that is at all possible.
The images and stories here made me wonder, “What the heck am I doing?” Living passionately is its own reward. We are so lucky to get a glimpse of these fifteen homes and their owners here.
Casa Mexico: At Home in Merida and the Yucatan by Annie Kelly, Rizzoli, New York, 2016. Images by Tim Street-Porter.