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Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker (Modern Library Paperbacks) Paperback – May 1, 2001


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Frequently Bought Together

Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker (Modern Library Paperbacks) + Life Stories: Profiles from The New Yorker (Modern Library Paperbacks) + Fierce Pajamas: An Anthology of Humor Writing from The New Yorker (Modern Library Paperbacks)
Price for all three: $42.59

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Paperbacks
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House; New edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037575752X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375757525
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Ah, what can ever be more stately and admirable to me than mast-hemm'd Manhattan?" marveled the excitable Walt Whitman in 1865. The skinny island and its four sister boroughs have continued to fascinate writers ever since, and it would be hard to find a better record of that fascination than Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. As David Remnick explains in his foreword, the fledgling magazine paid relatively little heed to the nuts and bolts of metropolitan life, and in his original prospectus, Harold Ross didn't even mention fiction. But in the following decades, Ross and his successors published so many classic New York stories that the real challenge, according to Remnick, was whittling down the selection: "As there is barely enough room in this city to contain all of its busy, funny, angry, joyful, carping, and canny inhabitants, there was barely enough room to contain the wide range of stories we agreed upon."

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

Two anthologies are being published in honor of The New Yorker's 75th anniversary, with multiple readers. The unabridged stories selected from Wonderful Town are about New York, and their authors include Salinger, Updike, Roth, and Wasserstein. The companion volume is Life Stories (see, below).
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Richard LeComte VINE VOICE on January 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This collection of New York stories shows both why writers have been fascinated with the Big Apple for so long and also why The New Yorker has been the hallmark of short fiction. The collection begins with Cheever and ends with Perlman, which pretty much sums up the golden years of the magazine. The pleasures here range from a story of lingering urban dread by William Maxwell to a hilarious tale of an intellectual loser by Jonathan Franzen. Updike's story both paints a true picture of New York in the snow and returns to his favorite theme -- infidelity. Philip Roth has a hilarious entry about a famous writer hounded by a game show contestant -- even funnier if you've seen "Quiz Show." The collection made me homesick for New York. It's one of the best books I read in 2000.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ethan Cooper VINE VOICE on August 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Cheever, Woody Allen, and Bernard Malamud wrote my favorite stories in this wonderful collection about life in New York City. Three quick thoughts: (1) While the dynamic captured by some authors seems a little dated (Dorothy Parker), most of the stories resonate with characters, experiences, and social groups that are common today in New York. (2) The collection offers 44 stories and 44 authors. This helps a reader see how these authors are great in different ways. (3) This collection ends, once and for all, the impression that all stories in The New Yorker are the same. Buy this book!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Sibley VINE VOICE on March 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The opening author is John Cheever. A corporate man and a corporate secretary meet at her place for a drink. He is estranged from his wife, the father of a friend of his son, and, finally, the woman, who manages to humiliate him.

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.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Levens on October 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is not only a good anthology to read for entertainment, but also a necessity for anyone who wants to write literary fiction. The New Yorker is the cornerstone of American contemporary literature, and this book captures a good sampling of the stories which have appeared in its pages the last 50 years or so. I particularly liked DEisenberg's story, and the fact that JCheever's story appears first. I think the book should have had a few more lighter pieces, and wonder why McInerney was skipped over.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Story selection is varied and interesting. Works very well for a contemporary short story course. Stories lead to excellent discussions.
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By E. Lewis on October 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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