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The Good People of New York [Kindle Edition]

Thisbe Nissen
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

When Roz Rosenzweig meets Edwin Anderson fumbling for keys on the stoop of a Manhattan walk-up, the last thing on her mind is falling for a polite Nebraskan–yet fall for him she does. So begins Thisbe Nissen’s breathtaking debut novel, a decidedly urban fairy tale that follows Roz and Edwin as they move from improbable courtship to marriage to the birth of daughter Miranda–the locus of all Roz’s attention, anxiety, and often smothering affection.
As Miranda comes of age and begins to chafe against the intensity of her mother’s neurotic love, Roz must do her best to let those she cherishes move into the world without her. On crowded subways, in strange bedrooms, at Bar Mitzvahs, in brownstone basements and high school gymnasiums, Nissen’s unforgettable characters make their hilarious and wrenching way–and prove, indeed, that good things thrive in New York City.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gracefully shifting her focus from short story to novel, Nissen John Simmons Short Fiction Award winner (Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night) weaves a charming tale with candid humor and a sharp eye for detail. Spirited and feisty Roz Rosenzweig and idealistic Nebraskan Edwin Anderson are as unlikely a couple as Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford in The Way We Were, but somehow they end up tying the knot in 1970s New York City. They have a daughter, Miranda, but the marriage falls apart by the time she is in fifth grade. Newly single Roz vows to "be the fabulous mom-who's-more-like-a-friend-than-a-mom mom" but has a hard time squelching her irrepressible Jewish-mother instincts. Miranda, a precociously sexy near-teenager, sometimes plays along with Roz and sometimes rebels she is particularly peeved when her mother starts dating her orthodontist. At school, Miranda proves to be a budding drama queen, and as she gets older, becomes entangled in a series of prickly relationships. She could sometimes use her mom's help as she fumbles audaciously through adolescence, but is too proud to admit it. Roz, concurrently coming of age, tentatively attempts to become the focus of her own life. Nissen's descriptions of life in New York in the '70s and '80s are spot-on, and she clearly loves the novel's characters even the least likable are sympathetic and forgiven their foibles. Astute characterizations and smart, snappy dialogue anchor an honest, funny portrayal of an inevitably heartbreaking but loving relationship. Agent, Eric Simonoff. (May 30)Forecast: Equipped with a stellar set of blurbs (from Charles Baxter, Ann Beattie and Chris Offut, among others), a fetching subway-inspired jacket and an enticing title, this engaging debut work has a good chance of differentiating itself from countless similar New York coming-of-age novels.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

When loud, confident Roz Rosenzweig meets quiet, Nebraska-born Edwin Anderson at the party of a mutual friend, sparks fly. Their courtship eventually becomes a marriage, producing the couple's only child, who quickly takes over the focus of the narrative. In Miranda, Nissen has created a perceptive and empathetic portrait of an intelligent girl who is a little too eager to grow up. A crew of secondary and tertiary characters keeps the action lively and acts as a chorus for Roz and Miranda. New York City, with its high schools, bars, cabs, and walk-up apartments, is also a significant character. From the opening scene on a front stoop to the closing scene at a dinner party in a Brooklyn brownstone, the sights, sounds, and smells of a large city are evocatively described, as are Roz's and Miranda's movements around the city. Readers who enjoy Elinor Lipman and the late Laurie Colwin will welcome Nissen's first novel, which follows up an award-winning story collection, Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night. Recommended for public libraries and all contemporary fiction collections. Kerie Nickel, St. Mary's Coll. of Maryland, Leonardtown
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 377 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375411453
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1st edition (June 19, 2001)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1ID6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,237,956 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Writing style great, story mediocre October 20, 2006
I don't know why, but the Iowa Writers' Workshop produces some of the best writing in America, and as far as style goes, Thisbe Nissen is no exception. Her phrasing is beautiful--a memory that aches like a death, for instance. Her dialogue is good. Where the novel falls down is the story and characters, about two-thirds of the way through. The book simply goes nowhere. Characters who start out being major players drop out and either are never heard of again or briefly described in an irrelevant incident. I thought Edwin was a leading role, it seems all he was there for was to be the father of Miranda. Roz could have gone to a sperm bank. What happened to good friend Fran who was so close to Miranda and at whose party Roz met Edwin? She just disappears. What is the point of that Christmas scene in Nebraska where we get the life story of Kathy and Duane, Shauna and Rod, little Brittney and all the others? To show the contrast with Manhattan? What happens to little Gert, who makes such an impression on Roz, she names her daughter after her? What happens to Miranda's budding acting career? Roz is a lawyer in an interesting field, but we never hear about her work or her clients or her friends. This is one of those books where I finish the last page and ask myself what this was supposed to say to me.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
That could have been the ad that resulted in the pairing of New Yorker Roz Rosenzweig and Edwin Anderson - and the result is this marvel of a book by Thisbe Nissen. From the first page, I was smitten with the couple and the writing, which is as smart, sassy, funny and quick-paced as New York itself. A sample bit, as Roz and Edwin are driving home to meet his family, including mother Esther, very early one morning: Edwin said....."Esther's up and at 'em by five. She'll probably have breakfast made already."... "Oh, good lord" Roz moaned. Edwin:"Probably not best to take the Lord's name in vain around her either, especially at this hour of the day." Roz: "Jesus, I forgot.".... "Jesus, we're in trouble" Edwin said to the sky. One more thing about this delightful novel: if you've ever read and enjoyed the late writer Laurie Colwin's books you'll definitely find similarities here, as this is somewhat a comedy of manners, a thinking person's guide to the intricacies of the human heart, full of style and wit.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good People, Good Enough? August 23, 2002
I'd been waiting for this paperback for a long while. I thought the book sounded fascinating. And indeed, parts of it are. Feeling generous, I gave it four stars. I found parts of it be not well played (characters fade away--time shifts too quickly). In other parts of the book, I was geniunely moved by the characters and their traumas. There is a sense of growth--particularly in Roz and Miranda (Roz most of all, who becomes just a wonderful person--we see that Miranda is missing out during her rebellious years). Other plot twists I might have done without, but still, that is how life isn't it? We can't pick and choose what happens. Nissen seems to have drawn on some of her real life (as she hints at in her acknowledgements) and it may well be unfair to judge her twists and turns, particulalry if they are real. PErsonally, I liked Edwin and Darrin a great deal and would ahve liked to hear more from them. At it's heart, this is a story about mother and daughter. Being neither a mother or daughter, I might not be the best to comment on this book--however, in the end (and I Loved the END) they are indeed good people. And it is a good, but not great, book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fast read, but left something to be desired September 7, 2002
As someone who lives in New York myself, and having read some positive press about Ms. Nissen, I was excited to pick up this book. While I found the characters, especially Roz and Miranda (the mother and daughter respectively) to be very realistic and easy to relate to on some levels, I felt that Miranda was vastly more interesting and that much more could have been done to demonstrate the effect that her parents relationship and her mother's actions had on her life.
I too, found the ending to this book unusually abrupt and disappointing. I think that much more could be written about the woman that Miranda was becoming and that the ending cut things off just as they were really getting interesting.
However, for a first novel, Ms. Nissen certainly entertained me and kept my attention, and I look forward to reading more of her work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I picked up "The Good People Of New York," recently while visiting Manhattan. Having been born in NYC and sharing the same first name with the lead character, Roz, I was intrigued. My enthusiasm, however, began to wane as I delved into the novel. I never had the feeling the pages touched anything related to the soul of New York. A casual reference to "Carvel" or an "egg cream" or "the Catskills" or even "Park Slope" do not do much to transport me from California back to the heart of Soho or Tribeca or especially not under the elevated trains in Brighton Beach. Maybe I needed the aroma of a Nathan's hot dog to leap from the pages...I am not sure. But I know I might just as well been in San Antonio. Yes, they have good folks and museums too!

As other reviewers have said, the characters were not there for the long haul. Why did we go to Nebraska for Christmas and learn about the people we would not hear from again? We were told about the characters but we never saw them unfold before our eyes. We are told Edwin left but little about why? How did Roz and Adele Rosenzweig get to be in the place we find them? How did Roz become so flip? I was surprised to hear she had a child and then went to law school. I never saw those two blessed events coming. But of course, we do not stay with any character or situation for too long, as Ms. Nissen quickly moves to and then from a whole host of people and life altering situations in faster than a New York second.....Nephew Josh and his Mom, Mona, are in and out speedier than the turn of a subway stile at rush hour...They join the hasty arrivals and departures of Steve, his ex-wife, his son, Ben and so on and so on and so on.

I did like Miranda. She turned out to be a major character.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I finished this book because I felt I had to ...
I finished this book because I felt I had to since I was going to hear Nissen speak and I had spent the money on it. Otherwise, it was hard to finish. Read more
Published 4 months ago by hope
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
This novel begins by telling the story of how Jewish native New Yorker Roz and Protestant transplant from Nebraska Eddie met, fell in love, and got married, but story really begins... Read more
Published on January 10, 2013 by E. S. Charpentier
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Relatable and Heartwarming
**Includes Spoilers**

This was definitely one of those books that lies on your shelf until you almost give it away, then when you take the time to read it, it surprises... Read more
Published on June 28, 2012 by khaleesi22
2.0 out of 5 stars So-so at best
I may be kind of sick of books about NYC or the book just plain deserves a low rating. Unlikable characters, no story/no plot, so-so writing.
Published on November 29, 2007 by Dan B
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating collection of interrelated stories
Nissen's minimalist writing technique and the steady evolution of the book from the point of view of Edwin Anderson, Nebraska lawyer in the big city to his first wife, Roz... Read more
Published on September 24, 2005 by Richard L. Goldfarb
2.0 out of 5 stars The good people of New York deserve a better story
I had high hopes for this book, but in the end it was quite a let down. The writing, which started out very good, would just kind of trail off. Read more
Published on November 2, 2004 by IBuzz
1.0 out of 5 stars CANT TELL A BOOK BY ITS COVER!
This book is so bad. The first two chapters are good,But each page gets worse and worse after that. The only reason i finished the book was because i was waiting for it to get... Read more
Published on August 25, 2004 by duer
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay, I guess.
I liked reading bits of this book, which seemed to work fine because the novel was put together in bits. Read more
Published on March 28, 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I was expecting
The Good People of New York began as more of an "adult" novel but quickly and without much notice turned into a "teenage" novel. Read more
Published on December 20, 2003 by jmz
2.0 out of 5 stars i have long hair, read me!
Let me give you the scoop on Thisbe Nissan. I am a student of the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa. Before I came I made it apoint to read everyone's books. Read more
Published on September 12, 2003 by for me to know
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