The Matter with Morris
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What is a thinking man to do but turn to Cicero and Plato and Socrates in search of the truth? Or better still, to call one of those discreet “dating services” in search of happiness? But happiness, as Morris discovers, is not that easy to find.
David Bergen’s most accomplished novel, The Matter with Morris is an unforgettable story with a vitality, charm, and intelligence all its own. Bergen proves once again that he is a rare and exceptional writer, dazzling us with his wit and touching us with his compassion.
out of this space. I can’t know what you’re doing, but it’ll be felt. Believe me, you will affect the group.” He was talking to everyone, but he was preaching to Morris, who waved and said that he had enough fodder already. “I’ve got my own life,” he said, and he grimaced. Morris said that the flaking of his hands must be coming from worry and stress. “They bleed in the morning,” he said. “I wake up thinking about Martin.” He had talked about this before, but he once again told them a version of
one night. “Only you haven’t figured that out yet.” Then on another occasion, perversely proud that he had been tempted and remained a faithful husband, she had waved her hands furiously and cried, “Nonsense.” They were still together and he had returned from a conference in Paris, a symposium of bacchanalian proportions during which he had almost slept with a columnist from England, until the columnist began to talk non-stop of the book she was writing on pet food and how she had four dogs, an
me know.” “Morris, you aren’t laid off. A hiatus—that’s what they’re calling it.” “And you agree? That I’m wistful?” “Did I say that? I never did. You know I don’t read your column anymore. I don’t need to read fiction that is passed off as truth. I don’t need to read about myself. Meredith was right to challenge you.” “How long do you think she’ll stay angry? I miss Jake.” “You might try apologizing. Talking to her. And then talking to Glen and showing some kindness to him. Don’t you get
with his wife on the weekend and then they had had sex in the car after, and when he had dropped his wife off at her apartment, he had asked her if she would move back in with him, and she had said no, she was very happy on her own. “I felt betrayed,” Mervine said. “Used.” Ezra harrumphed and said that he should be happy. “You got lucky.” “I don’t think so,” Mervine said. “For a moment, I was happy because Christa put something good into my pocket. But then she stole it back. That’s not lucky.”
of influence”? Sure. Those who believe we must create “new” stories and be original are deceiving themselves. We stand on the shoulders of the writers who came before us, and that’s what I was doing, in a very large way. Herzog, to be sure, is a much more complex novel. Stylistically I could not emulate Bellow. Impossible. However, I saw no problem having Morris struggle as Herzog does: with fidelity, friendship, mortality, love, and children, all the while genuflecting to the great historical