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Scene @ Eleanor Coppola’s Notes on a Life

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Gay and Nan Talese opened up their Upper East Side townhouse Monday night for one of Nan’s authors, Eleanor Coppola (in the white jacket), to celebrate the publication of Notes on a Life, which covers roughly two decades’ time in her marriage to filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. (And, famously, a vintner as well; the pinot noir served at the party was of Coppola vintage.) The party, held in the sunroom the Taleses had built off the back of the house, was an eclectic mix of publishing and celebrity types: Lillian Ross made her way through the crowd at one point, and there was one man I was sure I’d seen somewhere before but couldn’t quite place, and then just before I was all set to tell Mr. Lehrer how much I enjoy his novels, Kathleen Turner walks up to the gentleman and he reveals himself to be Robert McNeil. (Whew; dodged that bullet!)

In the conversational buzz, nearly everybody wanted to know what I’d thought about Janet Maslin‘s love letter to James Frey, and whether her attempt at aping his literary voice was worse than Michiko Kakutani‘s attempts at similar stylistic playfulness, or merely as dreadful…

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