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NOTES FROM THE LITERARY WORLD

People are talking about a memoir coming from Annabel Goldsmith about her relationship with her late husband, business tycoon James Goldsmith, and what the British press calls "the final, epic struggles of his life."

The book will include what Annabel feels are "honest and affectionate portraits of both Jimmy and my first husband, Mark Birley." It will include stories of many of the famous folk Annabel met in her life. And they were legion. After all, this woman had a nightclub named after her. It is said she also will include her version of what happened to the disappearing Lucky Lucan. (He was the earl who many say tried to kill his wife, killed their nanny by mistake and disappeared ever after.)

Weidenfeld & Nicholson will publish this next March. There is no word on how much Annabel may include about her late husband's lifestyle. He kept a wife in England and a mistress in France, and lived a kind of open "Captain's Paradise" between the two. He was noted for saying, "When a man marries his mistress, he creates a vacancy."

Big doings at HarperCollins last week. The publishing house gathered a lot of glittery literati to celebrate Larry Ashmead's 43 years in the book biz and to mark his retirement. (Larry, say it's not so! Just last year, editor Ashmead brought out Bill Blass' wonderful memoir.) Host Jane Friedman, president and chief executive officer of HarperCollins, led a group of toasters that included Susan Isaacs, Michael Korda, Simon Winchester, David Rakoff, Anne Rivers Siddons, James Prosek, Alberto Vitale, Lynn Nesbit, John Sargent, Sonny Mehta and a few hundred fond friends. Ms. Friedman lauded Larry: "You are incomparable, remarkable, loyal and gifted -- without question an original."

Interesting to read of Brigitte Bardot recently, she whose extreme opinions -- mostly her disgust with mankind in general -- makes her appalled by the world. She is now a rather curmudgeonly ex-sex symbol. Funny how some people, especially if they were rather wild in their youth, age into a startling primness. (Bardot became a legend for her wanton onscreen image and her headline-making off-screen exploits, romances, suicide attempts, etc. She had one child, a boy, whom she essentially allowed the father to raise, saying she was "only a child myself." She wisely recognized she was not suited for mothering.)

Bardot hates TV, which she says "does nothing to elevate the human soul." She prefers the company of her many animals. She tries "to be a person of infinite goodness" though she admits to also being "bossy . . . contradictory . . . very brusque . . . I think all this time I have been the man in my life."

Hmmmm . . . have Bardot and Madonna ever met? The Big M is awfully serious these days, disdains TV, newspapers and magazines, talks a lot about "bringing the light to people," refers to gossip as "evil tongue" and doesn't much resemble the heat-seeking sexual provocateur of years past.

She and BB would disagree strongly on homosexuals -- M is pro, BB is con -- and Madonna is very much raising her two children. But on certain world issues -- the media, privacy, the hypocrisy and dark side of fame, war and peace -- these two queens of controversy might hit it off.

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