The City of Your Final Destination

Peter Cameron

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 
PART ONE
We are unhappy because we do not see how our unhappiness can end; whereas what we really fail to see is that unhappiness cannot last, since even a continuance of the same condition will bring about a change of mood. For the same reason happiness does not last.
—William Gerhardie, Of Mortal Love



CHAPTER ONE



September 13, 1995


Ms. Caroline Gund
Ms. Arden Langdon
Mr. Adam Gund
Ochos Rios
Tranqueras, Uruguay


Dear Ms. Gund, Ms. Langdon, and Mr. Gund:
I am writing to you because I have been told you are the executors of Jules Gund’s literary estate. I am seeking permission to write an authorized biography of Mr. Gund.
I am a doctoral student at the University of Kansas. On the basis of my thesis, “Remember That? Well Forget It: The Articulation of Cultural Displacement and Linguistic Dismemberment in the Work of Jules Gund,” I have been awarded the Dolores Faye and Bertram Siebert Petrie Award for Biographical Studies. This award, which includes publication by the University of Kansas Press of the Gund biography as well as a generous research stipend, is contingent upon my receiving authorization from my subject’s estate. I hope you will agree that a well-researched biography of Jules Gund written by me would be in the best interest of his estate. I feel sure that the biography I plan to write, coupled with the burgeoning interest in Holocaust studies and Latin American literature, would markedly increase the amount of attention paid to the presently overlooked work of Jules Gund. This attention would enhance and secure the reputation of Mr. Gund, which would invariably result in increased sales of his book.
In order that you may fully consider my request, I am enclosing a sample chapter and table of contents of my thesis. (Of course, I would be happy to send you the entire thesis if you would like to see it.) I am also enclosing a copy of my curriculum vitae, and the letter endorsing this project from the University of Kansas Press. I hope that after perusing this material, you will agree that I am uniquely qualified to research and write the comprehensive and sympathetic biography that Mr. Gund undoubtedly deserves.
Because I must furnish proof of authorization to the Fellowship Committee by November 1 in order for them to process the initial payment by year’s end, I would appreciate your earliest possible response. I have taken the liberty of enclosing an authorization form herewith, should you feel ready to grant authorization at this time. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have about this project. You may call me, collect, at the number above.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. I look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
Omar Razaghi
THE CITY OF YOUR FINAL DESTINATION. Copyright © 2002 by Peter Cameron.
All rights reserved. For information,
address Picador, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.