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Sarah Lyall grew up in New York City and is now London correspondent for the New York Times. She lives there with her husband, the writer Robert McCrum, and their[…]

The British sense of privacy is very strong Sarah Lyall says.

Question: Did you husband know you were writing about him?

Lyall:    Yeah. He’s really cool. He didn’t really mind. He asked me to take out a couple things, and I didn’t really do it. I kind of left them in anyway. But, you know, I sort of make fun of him. I have a whole chapter in the book about British men and how kind of hopeless they are and how emotionally retarded they are. And, you know, the great thing about him is he’s got a great sense of humor, and British men really do. They can really see the joke. They really laugh at themselves. So he doesn’t mind, you know. There’s something in there where I say… and it’s true. I gave him, as a present a couple of years ago, a New Yorker cartoon.  You know, you can order them from the cartoon bank, and I had it blown up. And it’s one of the ones with the guy lying in the shrink’s couch, and he’s a businessman. He’s got his little briefcase, and he’s saying to the shrink “You might say that I’m in denial, but I really feel that my personal life is none of my own damned business.” And that was really how Robert, my husband, feels. He does not want to talk about it. But he thinks it’s funny. So, it’s okay.