In between satisfying intakes of Christopher Coe’s slim masterpiece, “I Look Divine,” I paused to contemplate the content of the fan letter I would write to him. I also imagined us meeting and talking about literature at a sidewalk café in Paris since his author biography stated that he split his time between Paris and New York. It always seemed to be an indication of sophistication and worldliness to state that you split your time between two big cities.
This book is tragic because its main character, Nicholas, is inflicted with too much self-love. This posterboy of vanity loves anything that reflects his own image, such as lacquered tables and mirror frames with shots of himself inside. The story is told by his brother, who is fascinated by his brother’s pretentious vocabulary, calculated expressions and manipulative games. Although Nicholas was declared a genius when he was a child and had outshone him at nearly everything, the narrator seems to view Nicholas tragically because he knows that if Nicholas determines his value in his looks, there is nothing to envy.
When I searched for more information about Christopher Coe, I was mainly hoping he had written more than one book. It hadn’t occurred to me that he might have died, but it turns out that in 1994, this talented writer died of AIDS. At least I have one thing to be glad about. Christopher Coe wrote another book called "Such Times," which I hope to enjoy as much as “I Look Divine.”