Language Is A Virus

Slaight of hand

Eccentric best-selling novelist Donna Tartt opens the acknowledgements of The Little Friend--a follow-up to the runaway hit The Secret History--with a thank-you to radio tycoon and magician Allan Slaight. The odd couple's friendship first blossomed in the early '90s, on the luxurious French island playground of St. Martin: both were staying at the decadent resort La Samanna (Slaight on holiday and Tartt attending a writers seminar). The pallid author, upon researching Harry Houdini for her eagerly anticipated second novel, reconnected with the magic guru. However, just how his lore on the master of escape helped to shape Tartt's novel remains a mystery to Slaight. He admits he isn't familiar with the 555-page book's finer plot points: in fact, he hasn't even cracked the cover.

Toronto Life, Telling Tales, May 1, 2003