‘Well, what is the reality, if you know so much about it?’ Peter snapped back; then looked away as if he didn’t want to hear the answer.
‘The reality is the fact that the world has changed since Henry Miller came to Paris. In this day and age, no one has any sympathy for the bleeding‑heart writer, starving for the sanctity of his art in a Left Bank garret. You gotta get with the times, Peter; write about what’s happening now in the world; deal with today’s issues.’
‘Like what, for instance?’
The look on Michael’s face suggested that the answer should have been self-evident, but he condescended to spell it out anyway: The decline of communism, the changing face of Europe, the emergence of the Asia-Pacific region as a world economic power, the social implications of information as a commodity.
« Voici le temps des technocrates. »
‘You can sneer all you want, Peter, but we are living thru the most exciting age history has ever produced’ – and with his expression changing instantly from zeal to mockery – ‘yet Peter Archer, the man with a message for Mankind, can think of nothing else but to sit in his little garret, scribbling away in a 2-bit .cahier from Gibert Jeune, dreaming of a bygone Paris he’ll never know, while the world marches on without him.’
Peter turned away, embarrassed, certain that the whole .café was listening and laughing, and sought refuge in the coffee that he lifted and held in front of his mouth with his elbows propped on the table.