Disgrace, a Novel

The Law & Order episode about Eliot Spitzer is surely being written as we speak–I picture the late Jerry Orbach quipping, “You don’t just prosecute hookers, you’re also a client” as he cuffs the gov (donk donk!)–but Richard Russo has a more sophisticated take on how Spitzer’s life might be fictionalized. In the process, he gets at the thought process of a novelist when it comes to nuts-and-bolts matters of conflict and characterization:

Arrogant? He’d simply tried to put criminals in jail where they belonged. Wasn’t that his job? Is that any reason he should be friendless now? So I’ll give my Eliot one friend, someone to help him put what he’s done into perspective. I’ll give this friend some of my own cynical humor. Ah, what the hell, I’ll give him my name. Call him Rick. I can change that later with a keystroke.

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