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Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker (Modern Library Paperbacks) Paperback – May 1, 2001
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So what made the grade? There are treasures from John Cheever ("The Five-Forty-Eight"), James Thurber ("The Catbird Seat"), Maeve Brennan ("I See You, Bianca"), Isaac Bashevis Singer ("The Cafeteria"), Jamaica Kincaid ("Poor Visitor"), and many others. The uptown neighborhoods appear to be more generously represented--a token, perhaps, of the magazine's well-heeled, fur-bearing readership--but from early Updike to middle-period Tama Janowitz, there are plenty of excursions south of Fourteenth Street. It's not, however, a simple matter of geography, but a kind of urban metaphysics at work. There are numerous and overlapping New Yorks represented in this collection: you'll find John Cheever's postwar paradise cheek-by-jowl with Ann Beattie's yuppie stomping ground. Then there's James Stevenson's vision of a flooded Gotham:
We are on the roof now. I have no idea what time it is, but it is daylight. The lower buildings have been submerged, the tall office buildings stand like tombstones above the heaving waves. There are whitecaps toward Central Park. An ocean liner stood by the Pan Am building for a while, then moved out to sea.... The water is swirling around the skylights now. The wind shifts. The waves are coming straight in from the Atlantic.Even in this postapocalyptic setting, New York stubbornly remains itself. A wonderful town indeed--and a wonderful collection to celebrate it. --Anita Urquhart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Ellen Sullivan, Ferguson Lib., Stamford, CT
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is a story by Roth about a fictitious quiz show contestant. Tales by John O'Hara, Laurie Colwin, Jonathan Franzen, and Frank Conroy appear. The Franzen entry was used as a chapter or at least an incident in CORRECTIONS.
A character in a Nabokov story has referential mania. Jamaica Kincaid in her account of an overseas visitor speaks of day old food stored in a refrigerator. John McNulty writes of a bar, of course, and Hortense Calisher of Greenwich Village.
J.D. Salinger's contribution is a story featuring Holden Caulfield and Pencey Prep. Renata Adler writes in stylish fashion using a fictional "I" of life in a brownstone. Isaac Bashevis Singer comes along with yiddish-speaking cafeteria goers. Veronica Geng has a take on conspicuous consumption.
Susan Sontag provides a surprisingly buoyant account of chronic illness. The narrator of Julie Hecht's story believes that buildings in New York should be built to the specifications of Prince Charles. "Mentocrats" by Edward Newhouse concerns schoolboys promoting the idea of a mental aristocracy. Daniel Menaker has a character say that the banality of evil is outstripped by the banality of anxiety neurosis. The psychiatrist in the story tells the first character he doesn't have the courage of his own contempt.
In eliminating some regrets you create others according to Jeffrey Eugenides. Dorothy Parker, E.B. White, Elizabeth Hardwick, Bernard Malamud, and Saul Bellow are all present in this collection of stories. Bellow's story gives rise to the thought that everyone has burdens. Remnick's selections are a joy.
Other notables include Shaw's Sailor Off the Bremen which shows that in 1939, New Yorkers were well aware of Nazi activities, Taylor's A Sentimental Journey demonstrates that there is no need to rush manhood, Benson's Apartment Hotel warns not to switch your routine, and Thurber's The Catbird Seat has a comedic Mr. Ripley as the main character. I have to reserve some major praise for Salinger's Slight Rebellion Off Madison which shows us a bit more of Holden Morrisey Caulfield whose angst has him railing against "guys fitting your pants all the time at Brooks". The Cafeteria by Singer was also a standout that lingers long after the last line.
Overall, a tremendous collection from a magazine that has played such an incredible role through the decades of finding and remaining loyal to authors who challenge and enrich their readers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a collection of stories that take place in and around New York from the New Yorker. Some stories are better than others, but I enjoyed reading all the ones that I did... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ellen Hollander
I bought this book with high expectations, and was sorely let down. These stories were LOUSY! Not entertaining, not funny, not wonderful.... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Krazee Dog Lady
Story selection is varied and interesting. Works very well for a contemporary short story course. Stories lead to excellent discussions.Published 21 months ago by Barbara Shulman
A wonderful assortment of classical stories published in The New Yorker over time--one per author. A good read and a good addition to any personal library.Published on October 12, 2013 by E. Lewis
I'm not a book critic, just a college student and had to read some stories from this book for class. Read morePublished on October 17, 2005 by Lora Ann