- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (April 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1608196003
- ISBN-13: 978-1608196005
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Central Park: An Anthology 1st Edition
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“A delectable collection! Central Park turns out to be more than trees and grass and paths; rather, a touchstone of Memory and Imagination.” ―Cynthia Ozick
“[A] sprightly new collection… Central Park is now a dazzling reincarnation of the Edenic landscape Olmsted and Vaux envisioned more than a century and a half ago. No matter how much the park has changed… it radiates for many of the writers here a sense of timelessness and constancy: It remains a kind of memory portal to the past, a Proustian time machine.” ―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“I loved this book. Central Park is a very special place for all of us who have lived in NYC for any length of time, or who grew up here--anyone who considers NYC their spiritual if not physical home.” ―Roz Chast
“To read these reminiscences is to be struck by the role of the park not just as a compensatory blast of nature, quiet, calm and oxygen in a city with too little of all them, but also as a jointly savored event, a common currency, something possessed by everyone but owned by no one.” ―Frank Bruni, NYTimes.com
“Reading these wonderful short essays will ignite the hot season within your head, no matter what the weather's like outside.” ―The Daily Beast
“All of the contributions, from humorous to deeply moving, are worth reading, with descriptions and insights that will be treasured by anyone intrigued by Central Park, no matter their own familiarity. This volume gives readers a sense of why the park engenders such deep emotions and wonderment in those who enjoy it.” ―Library Journal
“As varied and inviting as its namesake. Take it to the nearest spot of green, spread a blanket, and enjoy.” ―Barnes & Noble Review
About the Author
Andrew Blauner is the founder of Blauner Books Literary Agency. He is the editor of two previous anthologies, Coach, with over fifty thousand copies sold, and Brothers, a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Award. He is also the co-editor of Anatomy of Baseball. Blauner graduated from Collegiate School, Brown University and Columbia Business School, and he is a member of PEN and the National Book Critics Circle. He grew up, and has lived most of his life, within two blocks of Central Park.
Adrian Benepe has worked for more than thirty-two years protecting and enhancing New York City's natural and historic beauty. He has continued this effort as commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002.
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Central Park:An Anthology was a gift to my artist granddaughter, Sarah Long, who lives in New York City, just off Central Park.
She has carried the book with her during travels and opens conversations with strangers at City lunch counters and coffee shops, and they are amazed at the insights and understanding she has about The City and never-ending scenes she can sketch and paint.
Donn Doyle, The Villages, Florida.
Too many of the authors write "back then", or "in my childhood", or "years ago". It would be better and much more informative if we had more information to know when back then was. There is also a section in the back of the book with a description of each individual writer. It would allow for a better understanding of what had been written if the author's information was inserted with their story.
This is an interesting collection, especially for those of us that know Central Park, either as a visitor or a city resident and even those who have a fondness for the city itself and what this green space has meant to its citizens.
That said, many of the individual essays are excellent. The problem is context, they are forced to compete for the reader's attention with too many other similar pieces. Adrian Benepe's introduction was a surprise; he's the Parks Commissioner, but his piece was better written than some of those by famous novelists and essayists. Not so Doug Blondsky of the Central Park Conservatory, whose epilogue is comparatively cliched and leaden. Mark Helperin's essay, very polished, memorable. David Michaelis's essay about raising sons in the city told via their experiences fishing in the park was a beautifully crafted little thing. It is hurt somewhat by being followed by another piece that is similarly structured, but uses the catching of turtles in the park as its central metaphor, rather than the catching of fish.
Generally, the real reminiscences like that of Francine Prose or David Michaelis work better than the bits of fiction like Jonathan Safran Foer's unreadable (self-parody?). A few chapters, including the one by Paul Auster, are a mystery -- is this a memoir or a short story, or something in between?
David Knowler's bird watching piece was a pleasant surprise but then followed by another bird piece by Mary Winn.
A few pieces seemed incompletely edited, including John Burnham Schwartz's. For example, he mentions avoiding "landmines, real and imagined" in the park. Really, John? Even at its gritty worst in the 1970s, there were never landmines in the park. I think he was referring to patches of mud, or dog poop or something.
The collection contains 21 pieces, most by well-known writers. You'll probably find some by people whose work you've admired in the past, and the collection may introduce you to some new writers as well.
Central Park contains short stories from famous authors, as well as essays from New York City Parks officials. One story of note is "The Sixth Borough" by Jonathan Safran Foer, a version of which appears in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The fable of the sixth borough was one my favourite part of that novel, so I was delighted to see it included in this anthology.
For more reviews, please visit my blog, CozyLittleBookJournal.
Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.