The book takes a toll. The high drama sometimes wore me out —- I think my life is intense, but these people are professionals —- and yet that serves the book. In the inevitable deathbed chapter, life slowed for me as it did for everyone in that room: 'time without boundaries.' Sure, I cried, and often. But more, The Narrow Door made me want to call a few people, and say the magic words, and feel at home in the world. It’s hard to think of a book that can give you more than that.
In many ways this memoir’s real theme is fame: the way a hunger for it or a proximity to it can consume and even ruin a writer’s life, as well as the very specific ways that famous writers shaped Gess’s and Lisicky’s lives and their friendship.
Lisicky explores love and friendship with what I kept thinking of as an 'expert vulnerability,' and the result is intimate and simultaneously heart-rending and heart-mending recapitulation of a friendship and a lifetime.