What Joan Juliet Buck Is Reading & Writing | French on Fridays

Buck.IllusionStylish survivor/novelist/editor/critic/essayist Joan Juliet Buck spoke on Wednesday, March 8, at the French Institute: Alliance Française (FIAF) in midtown Manhattan. Her new memoir, The Price of Illusion (Atria; reviewed in LJ 2/1/17), recounts her golden fairy-princess life as an American ex-pat in France, growing up with glamorous parents (father Jules was a film producer who worked with John Huston and launched Peter O’Toole’s career; mother Joyce was an actress and, later, an interior decorator), and a life in fashion, first as features editor of British Vogue and then as the only  American woman to be editor in chief of Paris Vogue.

FIAF speaker series curator Melissa Ceria, herself a former fashion journalist, conducted a lively Q&A with Buck, whose answers were liberally peppered with French phrases. LJ’s humble correspondent (moi) squeezed into FIAF’s intimate penthouse space amid a cloud of L’heure Bleue and Mitsouko parfum and had a listen.

Buck discussed her relationship with her parents—dad was warm, mom was cold—and how she “adopted” John Huston’s wife Enrica “Ricki” Soma, to her mother’s dismay. Ceria asked about her high-profile romantic entanglements and Buck mentioned her enormous, youthful crush on writer Tom Wolfe (“Ricki said you should find yourself a ‘cub,’ not a wolf”) and her 1974 on-set romance with Donald Sutherland (“after the movie wraps, the intensity dies away”).

The author also talked about her life as a fashion editor during heady, creative times and how Paris Vogue “forced” her to take a two-month sabbatical and enter rehab in Tucson, AZ. Since she was not an addict, she rebelled at first but came to a startling realization during a Narcotics Anonymous meeting: she was addicted to Paris Vogue!

After the Q&A, the audience got to ask a few questions. Your correspondent wanted to ask what the author was wearing but instead inquired whether Buck, who has written novels, plays, screenplays, and essays, read any memoirs to prepare for writing her own. She named several titles: Elia Kazan: A Life, which she found “remarkable” despite her father’s antipathy toward the director who “named names” during the McCarthy hearings; J.R. Moehringer’s The Tender Bar; The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau, a multivolume French classic; The Confessions of St. Augustine, another oldie but goodie; and Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars, by Scotty Bowers with Lionel Friedberg, about which Vanity Fair exclaimed, “Quel scandale!”

Luckily, another audience member asked Buck what she was wearing: her well-cut, silver-gray jacket was designed by Zac Posen, who is a personal friend. “He’s a really good cook,” she added, then urged the next questioner to “buy the book” to find out more juicy details about her remarkable life.

CONNECTING INDIE AUTHORS, LIBRARIES AND READERS
SELF-eLearn More
SELF-e is an innovative collaboration between Library Journal and BiblioBoard® that enables authors and libraries to work together and expose notable self-published ebooks to voracious readers looking to discover something new. Finally, a simple and effective way to catalog and provide access to ebooks by local authors and build a community around indie writing!
Share
Liz French About Liz French

Library Journal Senior Editor Liz French edits nonfiction and women's fiction reviews at LJ and also compiles the "What We're Reading" and "Classic Returns" columns for LJ online. She's inordinately interested in what you're reading as well. Email: efrench@mediasourceinc.com, Twitter: @lizefrench

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  4. Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media, per our Terms of Use.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind

*