It’s the opening day of the Don DeLillo Conference at the Diderot University in Paris and the guest of honour stands at the back of the Buffon lecture hall. He wears a leather jacket, burgundy sweater, black jeans. He is 79 years old. I ask him: “Is it strange to attend a conference dedicated to yourself?”
DeLillo says: “Very strange. The truth is I’m not sure why I’m here.”
I mumble something excruciating like “Well, I’m glad you are” like we’re on an awkward first date. I don’t tell him that I spent a not insignificant amount of my own money to get the first Eurostar from London this morning just to see him, or that I think it’s his clarity of thought and heart which makes him the world’s greatest living novelist. It’s a brief encounter but hey, we’ll always have Paris.