"Beginning with The Paris Diary in 1966 and continuing through four subsequent volumes, Ned Rorem, one of the world's foremost living composers, has chronicled his life with a directness and honesty rare in American letters. He writes as he lives, introducing himself to readers as an artist and as a gay man, a citizen of the world of the arts, as at home in Rome or Paris as he is in New York. But in this latest installment, Rorem finds himself alone after the death of Jim Holmes, his companion of 32 years. Grief-stricken, he struggles to find his way in the world, while seeing his 80th birthday celebrated nationwide with concerts and programs befitting a celebrity. As he heals, Rorem starts to snap with his usual sharp observations, riffing on topics as diverse as defining opera for the New York Times and considering personalities as famous as Judy Collins and Gore Vidal. With his typical (some might even say brutal) candor, disarming wit, and self-knowledge, Rorem once again provides insightful reflections in elegant prose that demonstrates his ease in a form few writers dare to brave."--Jacket.