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A New York Memoir Hardcover – August 31, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 129 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Pub (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1412814928
  • ISBN-13: 978-1412814928
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,802,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like many, Goodman (French Dirt) moved to New York City in search of a home, a place in which he might feel comfortable and thrive. He found it "against the backdrop of a massive city of unmatchable energy and sheer, brute authority." In this tribute to Goodman's home of three decades, he shares extraordinary events and everyday occurrences, like the theft of his prized bike, a "Raleigh three-speed, English, heavy, black, and one of the most remarkable machines I've ever had. It was no effete, high-strung, ten-speed from Italy or Japan." He mourns the devastation of 9/11, but also celebrates the connections he's made, particularly to Ann Silberling, a Greenwich Village neighbor, one of those cosmopolitan women who "give the place a consistent dignity by their dress, decorum, and demeanor. They demand respect, and by their savvy, grace, and deep understanding of how to encounter New York City, they get it." Sections set outside New York, such as his description of restaurant work in Cambridge, Mass. or a year spent in France, fit awkwardly, a few misses in a thin volume of genuine hits. (Aug.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review

"In this tribute to Goodman's home of three decades, he shares extraordinary events and everyday occurrences, like the theft of his prized bike, a 'Raleigh three-speed, English, heavy, black, and one of the most remarkable machines I've ever had. It was no effete, high-strung, ten-speed from Italy or Japan.' He mourns the devastation of 9/11, but also celebrates the connections he's made, particularly to Ann Silberling, a Greenwich Village neighbor, one of those cosmopolitan women who 'give the place a consistent dignity by their dress, decorum, and demeanor. They demand respect, and by their savvy, grace, and deep understanding of how to encounter New York City, they get it.'"

Publisher's Weekly

"The massiveness of New York is hard for anyone to take head on. A New York Memoir is a memoir from Richard Goodman as he reflects on arriving in New York in 1975 and the challenges he faced in living in the city that never sleeps. A story of chasing one's dream and the constant array of challenges that are tossed at someone over three decades, A New York Memoir is an excellent read that will be hard to put down."

Midwest Book Review

 "So much more than an engaging memoir of New York, this is a heart laid bare. One can learn much from this man who feels tender toward cobblestones and old women, nostalgic about a daughter's childhood, frightened at the prospect of dying alone—a rare individual who, with honesty, sensuousness, and keen observation, turns yearning and remembrance into art."

—Susan Vreeland, author of Luncheon at the Boating Party and Girl in Hyacinth Blue

"Richard Goodman's rapturous book will make you miss New York City even if you've never been there. It's a highly poetic tribute to a city that, while it can overwhelm you, is still the ultimate city of dreams, an incubator for anyone who's ever fostered a dream of revealing the best in themselves. Richard Goodman's dazzling book made me realize that once you've lived in New York, you can never leave, no matter where you go."

—Rebecca Walker, author of Black White and Jewish and Baby Love

"[The] stories weave an endearing account of the author’s life and how the city became part of his soul. . . . It’s a great read and you will find yourself enthralled even if you’ve never been to New York." 

—Margaret Oleska, Richmond Books Examiner

"[Richard Goodman] reminds us that the spaces we inhabit are containers for and shapers of our emotions and lives. The cobblestones of Soho, 'bullion cubes' of shiny solidness, 'vulnerable and delicate,' reflect the light and sounds of the neighborhood but also disperse the heartbreak of a failed relationship. In his typically poignant prose, Goodman captures perfectly the communal loneliness of a late-night subway platform, and in these vignettes of both the physical aspects of the city and the people he meets living there, paints a rich picture, one that, in spite of the occasional tinge of melancholy, is as proud and protective of New York as the best works of E. B. White."

Assembly Journal

"Wherever he goes, Richard Goodman takes you with him. Those experiences that were once his are now yours, too.  In peerless prose, Goodman's A New York Memoir conveys you to a writers' enclave in Soho (where you lose your soul to love), the kitchen of a French chef, your friend Ann's apartment in Greenwich Village—even excursions to Maine and Provence, France. You'll never be the same again now that you've seen and heard and felt and thought with Richard. You'll be surprised at the long, precise reach of your metaphors now. Time-travel has become as supple as navigating New York. Your own life takes on some sort of shape, or promises to. A double life, maybe a multiple life, skating on sentences smooth as glass—that's what you'll get, not just a book. I promise."

—Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife and Adam & Eve


More About the Author

Richard Goodman is the author of French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France, The Soul of Creative Writing, A New York Memoir, and The Bicycle Diaries: One New Yorker's Journey Through 9/11. He has written on a variety of subjects for many national publications, including The New York Times, Harvard Review, Creative Nonfiction, Commonweal, Vanity Fair, The Writer's Chronicle, salon.com, Saveur, Louisville Review, Ascent, French Review and the Michigan Quarterly Review. Richard Goodman is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Orleans.

Customer Reviews

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It is a beautiful and powerful love story.
P. Dann
This is a magnificent book and required reading for anyone who is interested in understanding (or reading) what creative nonfiction is all about.
Brian Russell
This collection of mainly Manhattan-based essays was just as deeply satisfying.
Jo Maeder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ann on September 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've never met Richard Goodman, but now I've known him all my life. If a good memoir makes us feel we KNOW this person, a great memoir makes us feel we ARE this person. You will not find a more honorable book about growing older and wiser--yet no richer--in New York City. Goodman humanely and bravely instructs us in all the tricky ways we're invisibly connected, and all the ways we're still going home alone on a subway, long after bedtime. He doesn't hide behind brilliant stylistics or witty one-liners. He says the things we think to ourselves, or about ourselves, but don't quite have the nerve or wherewithal to say. And god is he funny about it. This is a great memoir. I hope you will read it and pass it along to everyone you know. And if, unlike me, you've got some scratch, send this man a check! He shouldn't be riding the A train, except by choice, at this stage in his writing career. (OK, OK, don't shoot!! It's just one woman's opinion! I just happen to be tired of riding the subway!)
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Format: Hardcover
A NEW YORK MEMOIR follows a life lived in New York City over a period of thirty years and begins in 1975, when the author first arrived in the City. His encounters, friendships, inner city challenges, and more evolve in a fine account that always keeps his personal experiences steeped in the cultural milieu that is New York City. Collections strong in regional flavor in general and New York City culture in particular will find this a fine addition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Dann on November 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Richard Goodman's "A New York Memoir" takes over where E.B. White left off. It is a beautiful and powerful love story. It's a wonderful book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Designing Books on September 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The "shelving categories" the publisher chose for this book are autobiography and sociology, of which there is a certainly some of both, but more appropriate would have been poetry or literature, wherever love letters are shelved at bookstores, for this book is a heartfelt and masterfully crafted love letter to New York City, the author's home town. Although primarily about Manhattan, there are also side trips to Cambridge, Maine, Virginia, Michigan, and Provence (where fans of Goodman's popular French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France can learn more about his year there). Above all, the themes he takes up in this collection of short essays--romantic love, love lost, divorce, loneliness, the love of a father, the love of a son, friendship, aging, and death--transcend place and make this a book for everyone, regardless if they live in New York or its shadow. The writing here is pitch-perfect, and confirms, as French Dirt suggested, that Goodman is a writer of exceptional talent and extraordinary insight. A New York Memoir is a small masterpiece--poignant, sometimes hilarious, sometimes sentimental and heartbreaking, but always spellbinding--a book to savor and bring richness to your own life, no matter where you live.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joe M. Lee on January 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is vulnerability, courage, and honesty in Richard Goodman's art. I find myself thinking...if men could only speak to women like Goodman speaks to us on paper, then perhaps there would be more intimacy, understanding, and humor in our shared life journey.

In "A New York Memoir," Goodman writes as an insider. New York has Goodman's heart and his roots are tangled in her soil. It is New York that became the smithy of his soul. He gives us a sensuous tribute to a city that can both overwhelm and forge greatness. Goodman's heart is laid bare in his story of New York.

It is impossible to choose my favorite essay from his wonderful collection. I love "When I'm Sixty-four" because it is funny and truthful. I can imagine black heel marks behind him as he skids down the hall toward aging. Perhaps, I like it so much because I'm sixty-four (with those same black heel marks behind me.) Or, perhaps my vote should go to the "Wheaton Girl." It is a story of such familiar sadness. My own mother tried to repair her broken heart with drink but unlike mine, Goodman's story ends with redemption and love. Or maybe my favorite is the macabre, drop-dead funny, it-could-only-happen-in-New York, "The Ceiling Leak." Or, the heart wrenching "Bicycle Diaries," where Goodman chronicles the day the world held its breath and then wept.
I am holding my breath for the next book from this marvelous author.
Nadyne Lee
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