The office - or studio, as I prefer to call it, conjuring the making of "Art," with a capital A - where I wrote Mordecai: The Life and Times has fallen into disarray. The space served heroically for four years, accommodating ever taller piles of books and cartons of documents, thousand-page drafts spread over the floor for correction.
But not long ago, unable to see the couch where I usually read due to the Richlerania covering every inch of it, I sensed the studio was lost. It may, or may not, recover from the trauma.
As a result, I am doing my reading these days in the house I share with my wife and our youngest daughter. (Her sister is at university.) The home is a century old and a six-block walk from that traumatized work space. Our light-filled living room offers two couches for sprawling, and high ceilings for the wafting of Keith Jarrett on piano or anything by Arvo Pärt.
Cats, banned from the room, sit by the door, watching. Teenagers, bored with the music and company, come and go.
Right now I'm enjoying Merrily Weisbord's The Love Queen of Malabar. Merrily was a fellow finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize, and her tale of her friendship with the late Kamala Das, the foremost Indian love poet, is charming, wise and original.
For fiction, Jonathan Dee's The Privileges, an elegant, pitiless exploration of American dreams and delusions, has me sitting up in delight and jealousy. What great sentences. What admirable, sly bite.
Charles Foran has just been named winner of this year's Charles Taylor Prize for his biography of Mordecai Richler, Mordecai: The Life and Times.