Harold Evans, the publisher of Random House, calls me at The New Yorker, where I work. “I’d like to have a word with you,” he says. “Can we have coffee sometime, perhaps?”
It is 1995, and Evans and I have met at parties given by his wife, who happens to be Tina Brown, who happens to be the editor of The New Yorker.
“How about today?”
“Let me check with my assistant,” Evans says. A minute or so later, he says, “Well, yes—can you come up right now?” The vowels, in his Beatles-esque accent, make the words sound a little like “coom oop.”