Monday night, our own idea of fun approximating the marathon dancers in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? The New Republic cocktail party at the Raleigh, editors Andrew Sullivan and Leon Wieseltier on hand, an oddly energizing Indian organist adding a camp tone. Harry Evans of Random House hosting a dinner at Van Dome for the still-speechless William Styron, mouthing a toast to great applause. On to clubland with Swedish publisher Albert Bonnier and the two graces of publishing, Liz Fried and Jenny Mueller, sublime beyond measure, the long revel winding down. Flat, dispirited, confronting the spector of ordinary life like a hooker waving farewell to the fleet, taking a curious comfort in a loss of innocence. The gang moaning about "publishing being just another business, as disgusting as everything else now." But there is an undeniable liberation in the vast hustle of modern life. And in the end, it's a great big wide-open world, all possibility and promise, hopelessly flawed, and yet forever beautiful.

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