calvin trillin on alice

One of the very first posts here on was about the untimely death of Alice Trillin, wife and muse to “New Yorker” writer Calvin Trillin. Alice died of heart failure on September 11, 2001. (Rough day all around.)
Calvin Trillin is my hero. He was the first adult writer I ever connected with: at age nine, when for some reason, I had a subscription to The Nation — I was dorky far beyond my years — and I got to catch the last few of his “Uncivil Liberties” columns. I remember requesting With All Disrespect via interlibrary loan in the late 1980s and loving his kind, bemused voice. Later, I got to know his harder-edged journalism for “The New Yorker” — collected, for instance, in American Stories. When I was a freshman at Yale, I read Remembering Denny like it held the secrets of the universe. Just the other day, I was telling an editor about my idea for a series of international stories modeled on Calvin’s “U.S. Journal” series in the 1970s. In my opinion, there isn’t a finer writer in America, in genres as diverse as humor, new journalism, memoir, food writing, and fiction. I wanted to have his career.
I’m surprised I’ve never posted here about my dinner with Calvin, back in 1994. I guess it’s good not all of my stories have been shared with the Internet yet.
When I was in college, I honestly fantasized about marrying one of daughters, Sarah or Abigail, just because I wanted to sneak into his wonderful Trillin family tableaus.
In other words, I have a serious case of hero worship.
I mention all this to point you toward the March 27 “New Yorker,” where Calvin writes a beautiful piece about Alice. It’s just gorgeous — three different people have pointed me to it, and they’ve all said something along the lines of: “That’s the kind of marriage I want to have.” It’s not online, but the web is busy talking about it. Go hunt it down; it’s worth it.

2 thoughts on “calvin trillin on alice”

  1. I am absolutely with you on the Trillin love. He’s the best. And I can never help smiling when I think of him traveling with Alice and introducing her as “The Principessa.”

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