Buckley, on Buckley

Forthcoming, from Thank You for Smoking author Christopher Buckley: a memoir of his childhood with more-notable parents Pat and William F. Buckley, Jr. While Chris has found a modicum of success on his own, especially with his novels Thank You for Smoking and The Supreme Courtship, his 14 books fill a small corner of the Buckley family library: dad’s 50-plus novels take up substantially more shelf-space, plus the 5,600 or so columns the elder Buckley author produced (which, when bound, amount to 45 volumes altogether). These are the bulk of the family’s literary legacy (not to mention the elder’s publishing organization, National Review).

The occassion for the memoir is the recent passing (documented here, below) of William, shortly after his wife, Pat. While the son’s memories of the father are perhaps less dignified than the elder Buckley might have liked, the public mourning and grievance-airing is almost certainly so. What will hopefully make the book worthwhile is a little more time with its subject: William. He, not Christopher, is the force behind the words. It’s his voice that carries the story, the strength of his personality, his tenacious intellect… we’ll hope the majority of pages deals with brunches in Stamford, and nothing more self-indulgent than that.

Chris, at least, has held off selling the Buckleys’ famous maisonette on 73rd and Park (which was reportedly available for $24.5 million shortly after William’s death), although this may be more a function of bad market timing than familial respect. The New York address was secondary to the writer’s Stamford, Conn. country home.

The Buckleys' sitting room at 778 Park Avenue

The Buckleys' sitting room at 778 Park Avenue


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