That night, when I went to bed, I took with me Vidal’s 1981 historical novel, Creation, his very under-rated tale of the classical world told from the point of view of an elderly, blind Persian ambassador to Athens, whose adventures and memories include encounters with Herodotus, Thucydides, Socrates, Zoroaster, Buddha, and Confucius. Vidal was not exactly shy about doing virtuoso turns. I wanted to re-read a chapter or two in memory of its late author, and as on previous occasions I found the story and bravura writing as satisfying as ever. As I nodded off, I put the book not on the bedside table, but on the empty pillow next to mine, indulging in the terribly sentimental conceit that perhaps the book would be a little less lonely tonight, given that from now on it had to make its way in the world without its deceased scribe. As far as I know, that’s the only time I’ve slept with Mr. Vidal.