James Wood writes:

In 1948, Tennessee Williams published a short story (and collection of the same title) called ‘One Arm’. It is about Oliver Winemiller, a magnificent young navy boxer who lost an arm in a car crash when he was 18, and whose life has subsequently gone to ruin. Working as a male hustler, he services thousands of men in cities throughout America. Eventually, he murders a wealthy client on his yacht, and is imprisoned and sentenced to death. In prison, Oliver has a kind of awakening – not a moral renaissance, but an access of attentiveness. He suddenly realises how much he meant to the men he pleasured, and writes long letters to them. But it is too late. He goes to the chair clutching a packet of his precious correspondence.

(LRB 24 April 2008)

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