First serialized in The New York Times Magazine “Funny Pages”
The celebrated cartoonist and New Yorker illustrator Seth weaves the fictional tale of George Sprott, the host of a long-running television program. The events forming the patchwork of George’s life are pieced together from the tenuous memories of several informants, who often have contradictory impressions. His estranged daughter describes the man as an unforgivable lout, whereas his niece remembers him fondly. His former assistant recalls a trip to the Arctic during which George abandoned him for two months, while George himself remembers that trip as the time he began writing letters to a former love, from whom he never received replies.Invoking a sense of both memory and its loss, George Sprott is heavy with the charming, melancholic nostalgia that distinguishes Seth’s work. Characters lamenting societal progression in general share the pages with images of antiquated objects—proof of events and individuals rarely documented and barely remembered. Likewise, George’s own opinions are embedded with regret and a sense of the injustice of aging in this bleak reminder of the inevitable slipping away of lives, along with the fading culture of their days.