The Feast of Love, a novel by Charles Baxter, 2000, is largely about Bradley Smith, who also has a dog named Bradley. He marries Katherine, then Diana, then falls in love with Margaret. Bradley owns a coffee shop where the young couple, Chloe and Oscar, work. Bradley’s next-door neighbors are Harry and Esther Ginsberg.
Bradley is an unassuming 9-Peace Seeker in the Enneagram, and an introverted feeling type in the MBTIR system. The title of the book comes from his painting, “The Feast of Love.” The following quotes highlight his type:
Page 162 of 350 on my iPad – Diana about Bradley: “I gradually settled down into him the way you settle down into an easy chair. I accepted, conditionally, the kindheartedness he offered me…” Page 163 – “He was… genuine, sweet-tempered and dependable, the sort of man who will stabilize your pulse rather than make it race.” Page 161 – “I thought of all these default-mode negatives: he seemed not ignoble, not ill-spoken, not a bully, not inconsiderate, not obnoxious, not a boor, not violent, not distressing, not disdainful, not a bad dresser, not unmindful, not dirty or smelly, and not particularly ironic. He was not unhandsome. He was not unattractive. In other words, he was husband material. Simple as that.” (Peace Seekers often gives their partners the feeling of being accepted.)
Page 271 – Bradley being modest: “When I met Margaret, I wasn’t inclined to tell anyone what was going on between us… As a rule you don’t settle down at the end of the day with a beer and tell your friend the particulars of how you lucked out and how well the day and the week and the year went, unless you’re the gloating type. You just don’t do that. It’s provocation. You find some other neutral ground. If you’re smart, you keep happiness to yourself.”
Page 95 – Harry about introverted Bradley: “He seemed to be living far down inside himself, perhaps in a secret passageway connected to his heart.”
Diana is a brash 8-Asserter. Page 160 – “Oh, the poor guy [Bradley]: I bet he knew he was overmatched already. I think he knew I would always be quicker, and not just verbally, my edges would be sharper than his, more acute angles. I was the superior animal and he was in for the time of his life. I’m good-looking but I will come at you. I’m one of these women who can’t see the beauty in any kind of weakness or pathos. Most men won’t trade up from themselves, they’ll walk away from a matchup like this, even if the woman is scarily beautiful….”
Page 232 – Diana about a party she went to after separating from Bradley: “I was prepared to be snarly in a provocative and sexy way, provided I could manage my smiling and witty quarrelsomeness within acceptable limits. I didn’t want sympathy. Well, these people were too hip for sympathy anyway. To be honest, I had this image of myself; I was the tree that a drunk driver slides of the road into. The tree doesn’t move. It doesn’t do anything except stand there. It kills the person just by standing there. That would be me. I’ve got my attitude: lethal neutrality and immobility.”
Page 287 – Diana: “On some days I’d like to be more like Chloe who has star quality, but I’m not like her, and I won’t be. I’m bad, because I lack usable tenderness and I don’t have a shred of kindness, but I’m not a villain and never have been. That’s what you should remember about me.”
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