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Herman Wouk still laying down the law at 97


The New York Times wrote about Herman Wouk at the weekend. The American author, famous for The Winds of War (remember the mini-series?) and The Caine Mutiny, is still writing at the age of 97. His latest book is called The Lawgiver. This writer has been around for so long that he remembers Simon & Schuster as people.

Wouk (pronounced woke) has written an epistolary novel that features himself, and why not? You can do what you want when you are 97. The Lawgiver also depicts his wife, who died last year at 9o. They were married for 66 years.

The Lawgiver is a 234-page story about a fictional group of modern-day people making a movie about Moses — with the consulting help of a nonfiction character: Herman Wouk himself, a “mulish ancient” who gets involved despite the strong misgivings of his wife, Betty Sarah Wouk. Intertwined are themes of rekindled love, financial hide-and-seek, religious heritage and familial ties.

The novel’s central character, Margolit Solovei, described as the hot Hollywood writer of the moment, comes across a bit like a contemporary rendering of Mr. Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar, an aspiring actress coming of age in the 1930s. But Mr. Wouk insisted that was not his intention.

Wouk also has the most magnificent beard that is big enough to lose a badger in.

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