To answer a couple of e-mails I’ve gotten about the John Hersey illustration accompanying the NYT Sunday Book Review article about me and my books, yes, I think it’s supposed to be me, and as evidence of this, I have paired it above with what I suspect was its model, the picture on my bio page, in which I am glowering into the camera. Paired up as they are, you can see how you can get from one to the other. I suspect that this was all Mr. Hersey was given to go on, in terms of pictures of yours truly.
I kinda like it, although I also think it looks less like me and more like a cautionary tale of what I might look like in a quarter century if I don’t go easy on the bacon and vodka. Somewhere else someone has described it as looking like a 60-year-old Russian gangster; I was thinking more of politburo type myself, which is six of one and half dozen of the other, I suppose. I also think it looks a bit like what might happen if Yul Brynner and I got into a bit of rough trade in the teleport pods from The Fly and then had our genes splice at a critical moment. I’m not sure that’s really an image you want to conjure up, however.
It could be a lot worse, though, because for a while I’ve been thinking of replacing that photo on my bio page with this one:
Imagine what might have happened if poor Mr. Hersey had had to work with that.