The Open Refrigerator
A few decades ago I was sitting in a college seminar room listening to the professor discourse quite penetratingly on Thomas Mann’s monumental and once ubiquitous novel The Magic Mountain when my mind wandered to the question of just how this novel came to be published. Presumably, that callow and ignorant undergraduate in the basement of Goldwin Smith Hall thought someone — some editor — must have read the thing and recognized it for the great book that it was. And how hard could that have been anyway?
Hell, even I knew it was a great book, if a bit long and occasionally opaque in meaning. I was a senior and the unpleasant prospect of graduation and the necessity to find some paying work was weighing on my mind. Why couldn’t I become that guy? I loved books, loved them even more than my other obsession, basketball. That might be a satisfying line of work.