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Bibliography Main Page [link]
Politics & Other Works



Do You Love Me?

Do You Love Me?
An Entertainment in Conversation and Verse

Pantheon 1976
Allen Lane 1977
Penguin 1977

Excerpts
ABE


· Commentary ·

These verses and conversation, which go straight to some of our deepest worries, aggressions and puzzles, are written in the tradition of music-hall and cabaret. Reading them is like going to an intimate revue. Each scene, each number is complete in itself but compels us to read the next. Everyone will do so in his or her own accent and yet it will find that the echoes are quite specific because the forms of this allusive writing derive from jazz, from nursery rhymes, from popular songs and from writers like Johnny Mercer, Thomas Wyatt, Dorothy Parker and Robert Burns.

The shock, the almost physical effect, of these pieces works beccause the author has moved the analysis of our problems out of the solemnity of the textbook and the consulting room into the humanity of street songs.

The book is an astonishing tour de force, it is funny, savage and sometimes even scurrilous, but it successfully avoids flippancy, callousness and sentimentality. It explores all the resonances of that painful question, 'Do you love me?'

- Jacket notes from the Penguin edition.

 

· Excerpts ·


26

take this pill
to help you not to shout.
It takes away the life
you're better off without

15

she
he
she
he
she
he
she
he
she
he
she
he
she
he

you were going to ask me what I wanted for a birthday present
O yes. I forgot. What would you like?
guess
the head of John the Baptist
don't be frivolous
what then?
a divorce
it's too expensive
O darling please
I'll see what I can do but I can't promise
promise you'll do your best
promise
(kisses)
(kisses)

37

hello (casually)
yes it is (absently)
no (uncuriously)
really (with some surprise)
whose was it (out of politeness)?
mine (incredulously)!
when (challengingly)?
really (interestedly)
ah ha (reminiscently)
mmmm (musingly)
you should have told me (ironically)
a pity I couldn't have had it for you (gleefully)
there it is (grimly)
give me a ring sometime (dutifully)
you could always have another (brutally)
c'est la vie (consolingly)
goodbye (sincerely)


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