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Including contributions by W. H. Auden * Elizabeth Bishop * John Cheever * Janet Flanner * John Hersey * Langston Hughes * Shirley Jackson * A. J. Liebling * William Maxwell * Carson McCullers * Joseph Mitchell * Vladimir Nabokov * Ogden Nash * John O'Hara * George Orwell * V. S. Pritchett * Lillian Ross * Stephen Spender * Lionel Trilling * Rebecca West * E. B. White * Williams Carlos Williams * Edmund Wilson And featuring new perspectives by Joan Acocella * Hilton Als * Dan Chiasson * David Denby * Jill Lepore * Louis Menand * Susan Orlean * George Packer * David Remnick * Alex Ross * Peter Schjeldahl * Zadie Smith * Judith ThurmanThe 1940s are the watershed decade of the twentieth century, a time of trauma and upheaval but also of innovation and profound and lasting cultural change. This is the era of Fat Man and Little Boy, of FDR and Stalin, but also of Casablanca and Citizen Kane, zoot suits and Christian Dior, Duke Ellington and Edith Piaf. The 1940s were when The New Yorker came of age. A magazine that was best known for its humor and wry social observation would extend itself, offering the first in-depth reporting from Hiroshima and introducing American readers to the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov and the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop. In this enthralling book, masterly contributions from the pantheon of great writers who graced The New Yorker's pages throughout the decade are placed in history by the magazine's current writers. Included in this volume are seminal profiles of the decade's most fascinating figures: Albert Einstein, Marshal Pétain, Thomas Mann, Le Corbusier, Walt Disney, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Here are classics in reporting: John Hersey's account of the heroism of a young naval lieutenant named John F. Kennedy; A. J. Liebling's unforgettable depictions of the Fall of France and D Day; Rebecca West's harrowing visit to a lynching trial in South Carolina; Lillian Ross's sly, funny dispatch on the Miss America Pageant; and Joseph Mitchell's imperishable portrait of New York's foremost dive bar, McSorley's. This volume also provides vital, seldom-reprinted criticism. Once again, we are able to witness the era's major figures wrestling with one another's work as it appeared--George Orwell on Graham Greene, W. H. Auden on T. S. Eliot, Lionel Trilling on Orwell. Here are The New Yorker's original takes on The Great Dictator and The Grapes of Wrath, and opening-night reviews of Death of a Salesman and South Pacific. Perhaps no contribution the magazine made to 1940s American culture was more lasting than its fiction and poetry. Included here is an extraordinary selection of short stories by such writers as Shirley Jackson (whose masterpiece "The Lottery" stirred outrage when it appeared in the magazine in 1948) and John Cheever (of whose now-classic story "The Enormous Radio" New Yorker editor Harold Ross said: "It will turn out to be a memorable one, or I am a fish.") Also represented are the great poets of the decade, from Louise Bogan and William Carlos Williams to Theodore Roethke and Langston Hughes. To complete the panorama, today's New Yorker staff, including David Remnick, George Packer, and Alex Ross, look back on the decade through contemporary eyes. Whether it's Louis Menand on postwar cosmopolitanism or Zadie Smith on the decade's breakthroughs in fiction, these new contributions are illuminating, learned, and, above all, entertaining.From the Hardcover edition.
Including contributions by Elizabeth Bishop * Truman Capote * John Cheever * Roald Dahl * Janet Flanner * Nadine Gordimer * A. J. Liebling * Dwight Macdonald * Joseph Mitchell * Marianne Moore * Vladimir Nabokov * Sylvia Plath * V. S. Pritchett * Adrienne Rich * Lillian Ross * Philip Roth * Anne Sexton * James Thurber * John Updike * Eudora Welty * E. B. White * Edmund Wilson And featuring new perspectives by Jonathan Franzen * Malcolm Gladwell * Adam Gopnik * Elizabeth Kolbert * Jill Lepore * Rebecca Mead * Paul Muldoon * Evan Osnos * David Remnick The 1950s are enshrined in the popular imagination as the decade of poodle skirts and "I Like Ike." But this was also a complex time, in which the afterglow of Total Victory firmly gave way to Cold War paranoia. A sense of trepidation grew with the Suez Crisis and the H-bomb tests. At the same time, the fifties marked the cultural emergence of extraordinary new energies, like those of Thelonious Monk, Sylvia Plath, and Tennessee Williams. The New Yorker was there in real time, chronicling the tensions and innovations that lay beneath the era's placid surface. In this thrilling volume, classic works of reportage, criticism, and fiction are complemented by new contributions from the magazine's present all-star lineup of writers, including Jonathan Franzen, Malcolm Gladwell, and Jill Lepore. Here are indelible accounts of the decade's most exciting players: Truman Capote on Marlon Brando as a pampered young star; Emily Hahn on Chiang Kai-shek in his long Taiwanese exile; and Berton Roueché on Jackson Pollock in his first flush of fame. Ernest Hemingway, Emily Post, Bobby Fischer, and Leonard Bernstein are also brought to vivid life in these pages. The magazine's commitment to overseas reporting flourished in the 1950s, leading to important dispatches from East Berlin, the Gaza Strip, and Cuba during the rise of Castro. Closer to home, the fight to break barriers and establish a new American identity led to both illuminating coverage, as in a portrait of Thurgood Marshall at an NAACP meeting in Atlanta, and trenchant commentary, as in E. B. White's blistering critique of Senator Joe McCarthy. The arts scene is here recalled in critical writing rarely reprinted, whether it's Wolcott Gibbs on My Fair Lady, Anthony West on Invisible Man, or Philip Hamburger on Candid Camera. The reader is made witness to the initial response to future cultural touchstones through Edmund Wilson's galvanizing book review of Doctor Zhivago and Kenneth Tynan's rapturous response to the original production of Gypsy. As always, The New Yorker didn't just consider the arts but contributed to them. Among the audacious young writers who began publishing in the fifties was one who would become a stalwart for the magazine in both fiction and criticism for fifty-five years: John Updike. Also featured here are great early works from Philip Roth and Nadine Gordimer, as well as startling poems by Theodore Roethke and Anne Sexton, among others. Completing the panoply are insightful and entertaining new pieces by present day New Yorker contributors examining the 1950s through contemporary eyes. The result is a vital portrait of American culture as only one magazine in the world could do it.From the Hardcover edition.
The rise of Barack Obama is one of the great stories of this century: a defining moment for America, and one with truly global resonance. This is the book of his phenomenal journey to election. Through extensive on-the-record interviews with friends and teachers, mentors and disparagers, family members and Obama himself, David Remnick has put together a nuanced, unexpected and masterly portrait of the man who was determined to become the first African-American President. Most importantly, The Bridgeargues that Obama imagined and fashioned an identity for himself against the epic drama of race in America. In a way that Obama's own memoirs cannot, it examines both the personal and political elements of the story, and gives shape not only to a decisive period of history, but also to the way it crucially influenced, animated and motivated a gifted and complex man. 'Speaking to hundreds of friends and colleagues, Remmick investigates and corrects Obama's own accout of his life with an assured and elegant tone that clarifies rather than accuses or unmasks . . . 600 masterly pages. *****Daily Telegraph 'The publishing event of the year' Observer
Readers know from his now classic Lenin's Tomb that Remnick is a superb portraitist who can bring his subjects to life and reveal them in such surprising ways as to justify comparison to Dickens, Balzac, or Proust. In this collection, Remnick's gift for character is sharper than ever, whether he writes about Gary Hart stumbling through life after Donna Rice or Mario Cuomo, who now presides over a Saturday morning radio talk show, fielding questions from crackpots, or about Michael Jordan's awesome return to the Chicago Bulls -- or Reggie Jackson's last times at bat.Remnick's portraits of such disparate characters as Alger Hiss and Ralph Ellison, Richard Nixon and Elaine Pagels, Gerry Adams and Marion Barry are unified by this extraordinary ability to create a living character, so that the pieces in this book, taken together, constitute a splendid pageant of the representative characters of our time.
Readers know from his now classic "Lenin's Tomb" that Remnick is a superb portraitist who can bring his subjects to life and reveal them in such surprising ways as to justify comparison to Dickens, Balzac, or Proust. In this collection, Remnick's gift for character is sharper than ever, whether he writes about Gary Hart stumbling through life after Donna Rice or Mario Cuomo, who now presides over a Saturday morning radio talk show, fielding questions from crackpots, or about Michael Jordan's awesome return to the Chicago Bulls -- or Reggie Jackson's last times at bat. Remnick's portraits of such disparate characters as Alger Hiss and Ralph Ellison, Richard Nixon and Elaine Pagels, Gerry Adams and Marion Barry are unified by this extraordinary ability to create a living character, so that the pieces in this book, taken together, constitute a splendid pageant of the representative characters of our time.
The New Yorker is, of course, a bastion of superb essays, influential investigative journalism, and insightful arts criticism. But for eighty years, it's also been a hoot. In fact, when Harold Ross founded the legendary magazine in 1925, he called it "a comic weekly," and while it has grown into much more, it has also remained true to its original mission. Now an uproarious sampling of its funny writings can be found in a hilarious new collection, one as satirical and witty, misanthropic and menacing, as the first, Fierce Pajamas. From the 1920s onward-but with a special focus on the latest generation-here are the humorists who set the pace and stirred the pot, pulled the leg and pinched the behind of America. S. J. Perelman unearths the furious letters of a foreign correspondent in India to the laundry he insists on using in Paris ("Who charges six francs to wash a cummerbund?!"). Woody Allen recalls the "Whore of Mensa," who excites her customers by reading Proust (or, if you want, two girls will explain Noam Chomsky). Steve Martin's pill bottle warns us of side effects ranging from hair that smells of burning tires to teeth receiving radio broadcasts. Andy Borowitz provides his version of theater-lobby notices ("In Act III, there is full frontal nudity, but not involving the actor you would like to see naked"). David Owen's rules for dating his ex-wife start out magnanimous and swiftly disintegrate into sarcasm, self-loathing, and rage, and Noah Baumbach unfolds a history of his last relationship in the form of Zagat reviews.Meanwhile, off in a remote "willage" in Normandy, David Sedaris is drowning a mouse ("This was for the best, whether the mouse realized it or not").Plus asides, fancies, rebukes, and musings from Patty Marx, Calvin Trillin, Bruce McCall, Garrison Keillor, Veronica Geng, Ian Frazier, Roy Blount, Jr., and many others. If laughter is the best medicine, Disquiet, Please is truly a wonder drug.From the Hardcover edition.
When Harold Ross founded The New Yorker in 1925, he described it as a "comic weekly." And although it has become much more than that, it has remained true in its irreverent heart to the founder's description, publishing the most illustrious literary humorists of the modern era--among them Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Groucho Marx, George S. Kaufman, James Thurber, S. J. Perelman, Peter De Vries, Mike Nichols, Marshall Brickman, Woody Allen, Donald Barthelme, Calvin Trillin, George W. S. Trow, Veronica Geng, Garrison Keillor, Ian Frazier, Roy Blount, Jr., Bruce McCall, Steve Martin, Christopher Buckley, and Paul Rudnick. This anthology gathers together, for the first time, the funniest work of more than seventy New Yorker contributors. Parodists take on not only writers like Hemingway and Kerouac, but TV documentaries, Italian cinema, and etiquette books. (Enough have been published, Robert Benchley maintains, "that there should be no danger of toppling over forward into the wrong soup, or getting into arguments as to which elbow belongs on which arm.") Other pieces offer perspectives on the heights of fame, the depths of social embarrassment, and the ups and downs of love and sex. Such well-loved sketches as Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" take their place alongside light-hearted essays on food, tennis, and taxis, and flights of fancy that follow an apparently simple premise to the point of no return, and sometimes well beyond. Here you will find large insights (Woody Allen: "Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage") and hard-earned wisdom (Ian Frazier on dating your mom: "Here is a grown, experienced, loving woman--one you do not have to go to a party or a singles bar to meet, one you do not have to go to great lengths to know"). And, not least, a great deal of helpful advice, including Steve Martin's on memory and middle age: "Bored? Here's a way the over-fifty set can easily kill a good half hour: 1. Place your car keys in your right hand. 2. With your left hand, call a friend and confirm a lunch or dinner date. 3. Hang up the phone. 4. Now look for your car keys." A rich selection of humorous verse includes caustic gems by Dorothy Parker, the effortless whimsy of Phyllis McGinley, and Ogden Nash's unforgettable slapstick prosody, as well as forays by luminaries who ought to have known better, like Robert Graves, Elizabeth Bishop, and W. H. Auden.A wonderful gift for others, or a delightful treat for oneself, Fierce Pajamas is a treasury of laughter from a publication described by Auden as "the best comic magazine in existence."
William Shawn once called The Talk of the Town the soul of the magazine. The section began in the first issue, in 1925. But it wasn't until a couple of years later, when E. B. White and James Thurber arrived, that the Talk of the Town story became what it is today: a precise piece of journalism that always gets the story and has a little fun along the way. The Fun of It is the first anthology of Talk pieces that spans the magazine's life. Edited by Lillian Ross, the longtime Talk reporter and New Yorker staff writer, the book brings together pieces by the section's most original writers. Only in a collection of Talk stories will you find E. B. White visiting a potter's field; James Thurber following Gertrude Stein at Brentano's; Geoffrey Hellman with Cole Porter at the Waldorf Towers; A. J. Liebling on a book tour with Albert Camus; Maeve Brennan ventriloquizing the long-winded lady; John Updike navigating the passageways of midtown; Calvin Trillin marching on Washington in 1963; Jacqueline Onassis chatting with Cornell Capa; Ian Frazier at the Monster Truck and Mud Bog Fall Nationals; John McPhee in virgin forest; Mark Singer with sixth-graders adopting Hudson River striped bass; Adam Gopnik in Flatbush visiting the grandest theatre devoted exclusively to the movies; Hendrik Hertzberg pinning down a Sulzberger on how the Times got colorized; George Plimpton on the tennis court with Boris Yeltsin; and Lillian Ross reporting good little stories for more than forty-five years. They and dozens of other Talk contributors provide an entertaining tour of the most famous section of the most famous magazine in the world.
There were mythic sports figures before him--Jack Johnson, Babe Ruth, Joe Louis, Joe DiMaggio--but when Cassius Clay burst onto the sports scene from his native Louisville in the 1950s, he broke the mold. He changed the world of sports and went on to change the world itself. As Muhammad Ali, he would become the most recognized face on the planet. Ali was a transcendent athlete and entertainer, a heavyweight Fred Astaire, a rapper before rap was born. He was a mirror of his era, a dynamic figure in the racial and cultural battles of his time. This unforgettable story of his rise and self-creation, told by a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, places Ali in a heritage of great American originals. Cassius Clay grew up in the Jim Crow South and came of athletic age when boxers were at the mercy of the mob. From the start, Clay rebelled against everything and everyone who would keep him and his people down. He refused the old stereotypes and refused the glad hand of the mob. And, to the confusion and fury of white sportswriters, who were far more comfortable with the self-effacing Joe Louis, Clay came forward as a rebel, insistent on his political views, on his new religion, and, eventually, on a new name. His rebellion nearly cost him the chance to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world. King of the World features some of the pivotal figures of the 1960s--Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, John F. Kennedy--and its pivotal events: the civil rights movement, political assassinations, the war in Vietnam. Muhammad Ali is a great hero and a beloved figure in American life. King of the World takes us back to the days when his life was a series of battles, inside the ring and out. A master storyteller at the height of his powers, David Remnick has written a book worthy of America's most dynamic modern hero.
As Muhammad Ali, he would become the most recognized face on the planet. Ali was an athlete, a heavyweight Fred Astaire, a rapper before rap was born. He was a mirror of his era, a dynamic figure in the racial and cultural battles of his time.
In the tradition of John Reed's classic Ten Days That Shook the World, this bestselling account of the collapse of the Soviet Union combines the global vision of the best historical scholarship with the immediacy of eyewitness journalism. "A moving illumination . . . Remnick is the witness for us all." --Wall Street Journal.
In the tradition of John Reed's classic Ten Days That Shook the World, this bestselling account of the collapse of the Soviet Union combines the global vision of the best historical scholarship with the immediacy of eyewitness journalism. "A moving illumination . . . Remnick is the witness for us all. "--Wall Street Journal.
Nacidos con apenas tres años de diferencia, Philip Roth (1933) y Don DeLillo (1936) son dos glorias vivas de las letras americanas que han sido retratados por la ágil pluma de David Remnick. Pocos escritores concitan tanta unanimidad como el estadounidense Philip Roth. Uno de los novelistas fundamentales de los últimos cincuenta años, fue el primer escritor vivo publicado en la Library of America. En este extraordinario perfil, Remnick repasa las obras maestras de Roth, la polémica que acompañó sus inicios tras la publicación de El lamento de Portnoy, la depresión que a mediados de los 90 le llevó a refugiarse en la literatura y las opiniones de Roth sobre el futuro de la literatura y las raíces de su arte.Si Roth es el escritor público, que se crece ante la hostilidad, Don DeLillo es el autor huidizo, que intenta evitar la exposición pública. Sin embargo, su obra, con cumbres como Submundo, o Libra le ha convertido en uno de los novelistas más prestigiosos de la actualidad. Remnick va en su busca a un pueblecito cercano a Nueva York y le acompaña en un paseo por su barrio natal para buscar los temas y las preocupaciones que marcan sus novelas.
One of art's purest challenges is to translate a human being into words. The New Yorker has met this challenge more successfully and more originally than any other modern American journal. It has indelibly shaped the genre known as the Profile. Starting with light-fantastic evocations of glamorous and idiosyncratic figures of the twenties and thirties, such as Henry Luce and Isadora Duncan, and continuing to the present, with complex pictures of such contemporaries as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Richard Pryor, this collection of New Yorker Profiles presents readers with a portrait gallery of some of the most prominent figures of the twentieth century. These Profiles are literary-journalistic investigations into character and accomplishment, motive and madness, beauty and ugliness, and are unrivalled in their range, their variety of style, and their embrace of humanity.
In keeping with its tradition of sending writers out into America to take the pulse of our citizens and civilization, The New Yorker over the past decade has reported on the unprecedented economy and how it has changed the ways in which we live. This new anthology collects the best of these profiles, essays, and articles, which depict, in the magazine's inimitable style, the mega-, meta-, monster-wealth created in this, our new Gilded Age. Who are the barons of the new economy? Profiles of Martha Stewart by Joan Didion, Bill Gates by Ken Auletta, and Alan Greenspan by John Cassidy reveal the personal histories of our most influential citizens, people who affect our daily lives even more than we know. Who really understands the Web? Malcolm Gladwell analyzes the economics of e-commerce in "Clicks and Mortar." Profiles of two of the Internet's most respected analysts, George Gilder and Mary Meeker, expose the human factor in hot stocks, declining issues, and the instant fortunes created by an IPO. And in "The Kids in the Conference Room," Nicholas Lemann meets McKinsey & Company's business analysts, the twenty-two-year-olds hired to advise America's CEOs on the future of their business, and the economy. And what defines this new age, one that was unimaginable even five years ago? Susan Orlean hangs out with one of New York City's busiest real estate brokers ("I Want This Apartment"). A clicking stampede of Manolo Blahniks can be heard in Michael Specter's "High-Heel Heaven." Tony Horwitz visits the little inn in the little town where moguls graze ("The Inn Crowd"). Meghan Daum flees her maxed-out credit cards. Brendan Gill lunches with Brooke Astor at the Metropolitan Club. And Calvin Trillin, in his masterly "Marisa and Jeff," portrays the young and fresh faces of greed. Eras often begin gradually and end abruptly, and the people who live through extraordinary periods of history do so unaware of the unique qualities of their time. The flappers and tycoons of the 1920s thought the bootleg, and the speculation, would flow perpetually--until October 1929. The shoulder pads and the junk bonds of the 1980s came to feel normal--until October 1987. Read as a whole, The New Gilded Age portrays America, here, today, now--an epoch so exuberant and flush and in thrall of risk that forecasts of its conclusion are dismissed as Luddite brays. Yet under The New Yorker's examination, our current day is exposed as a special time in history: affluent and aggressive, prosperous and peaceful, wired and wild, and, ultimately, finite.
For more than eighty years, The New Yorker has been home to some of the toughest, wisest, funniest, and most moving sports writing around. Featuring brilliant reportage and analysis, profound profiles of pros, and tributes to the amateur in all of us, The Only Game in Town is a classic collection from a magazine with a deep bench. Including such authors as Roger Angell and John Updike, both of them synonymous with New Yorker sports writing, The Only Game in Town also features greats like John McPhee and Don DeLillo. Hall of Famer Ring Lardner is here, bemoaning the lowering of standards for baseball achievement-in 1930. A. J. Liebling inimitably portrays the 1955 Rocky Marciano-Archie Moore bout as "Ahab and Nemesis . . . man against history," and John Cheever pens a story about a boy's troubled relationship with his father and "The National Pastime. " From Tiger Woods to bullfighter Sidney Franklin, from the Chinese Olympics to the U. S. Open, the greatest plays and players, past and present, are all covered in The Only Game in Town. At The New Yorker, it's not whether you win or lose-it's how you write about the game.
Through brilliant portraits of real persons who created the myths and realities of the 1930s, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Murray Kempton brings that turbulent decade to life. Himself a child of the time, Kempton examines with the insight and imagination of a novelist the men and women who embraced, grappled with, and in many cases were destroyed by the myth of revolution. What he calls the "ruins and monuments of the Thirties" include Paul Robeson, Alger Hiss, and Whittaker Chambers, the Hollywood Ten, the rebel women Elizabeth Bentley and Mary Heaton Vorse, and the labor leaders Walter Reuther and Joe Curran.
From the inimitable veteran New Yorker journalist Lillian Ross--a stunning collection of Ross's iconic New Yorker pieces.A staff writer for The New Yorker since 1945, Lillian Ross is one of the few journalists who worked for both the magazine's founding editor, Harold Ross, and its current editor, David Remnick. Ross invented the entertainment profile. She was the first person to write journalism in "scenes" as novelists do, and her profiles are full of humor and details that bring her subjects alive on the page. Her style has been studied and imitated by numerous writers. But there is only one Lillian Ross: spirited, funny, factual, and unforgettable. Reporting Always collects a wide range of Lillian Ross's New Yorker articles and "Talk of the Town" pieces spanning sixty years, bringing readers into Robin Williams's living room; Harry Winston's office; the afterschool hangouts of Manhattan private-school children; the hotel rooms of Ernest Hemingway, John Huston, and Charlie Chaplin; onto the tennis court with John McEnroe; and into the lives of many other famous and not-so-famous characters. Ross's portraits are filled with rich details that reveal her subjects in amusing and perceptive ways. A foreword by David Remnick discusses Ross's trademark style and her important place in the history of The New Yorker.
David Remnick is a man much praised for his powers of observation, description and analysis, and Reporting contains his very best pieces from the last fifteen years. Here is Remnick on Don DeLillo, Philip Roth and The Sopranos; and here he is writing about Solzhenitsyn returning to Russia after nearly 20 years in exile, or on the failure of democracy in Mubarak's Egypt. Without doubt one of America's most gifted and widely read journalists, Remnick's style combines compassion, empathy, exuberance and humour, and in Reporting, he brings the written word to life, describing the world with extraordinary vividness and exceptional depth. 'Remnick is a phenomenon. He has not only edited the magazine with serene efficiency for the past eight years; he has written for it a series of long, meticulously researched articles that have been gathered together in this hefty volume. And they are all excellent.' Daily Telegraph. 'Always up close and personal, always tenacious and informed by deep background, and always vivid and veracious.' The Times. 'He has a strong, muscular unpretentious style and a restless curiosity that enables him to write as well about literature and politics as he does about boxing' New Statesman. 'Pin-sharp, the whole thing, and really very engrossing indeed.' William Leith, Sunday Telegraph.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lenin's Tomb now presents the crucial second act--the attempt to form a Russian state from the ruins of the U.S.S.R. and the chaotic election of 1996. As before, readers will turn to Remnick for the essential story, the flesh-and-blood account of one of history's great turning points.
Since its earliest days, The New Yorker has been a tastemaker--literally. As the home of A. J. Liebling, Joseph Wechsberg, and M.F.K. Fisher, who practically invented American food writing, the magazine established a tradition that is carried forward today by irrepressible literary gastronomes, including Calvin Trillin, Bill Buford, Adam Gopnik, Jane Kramer, and Anthony Bourdain. Now, in this indispensable collection, The New Yorker dishes up a feast of delicious writing on food and drink, seasoned with a generous dash of cartoons. Whether you're in the mood for snacking on humor pieces and cartoons or for savoring classic profiles of great chefs and great eaters, these offerings, from every age of The New Yorker's fabled eighty-year history, are sure to satisfy every taste. There are memoirs, short stories, tell-alls, and poems-ranging in tone from sweet to sour and in subject from soup to nuts. M.F.K. Fisher pays homage to "cookery witches," those mysterious cooks who possess "an uncanny power over food," while John McPhee valiantly trails an inveterate forager and is rewarded with stewed persimmons and white-pine-needle tea. There is Roald Dahl's famous story "Taste," in which a wine snob's palate comes in for some unwelcome scrutiny, and Julian Barnes's ingenious tale of a lifelong gourmand who goes on a very peculiar diet for still more peculiar reasons. Adam Gopnik asks if French cuisine is done for, and Calvin Trillin investigates whether people can actually taste the difference between red wine and white. We journey with Susan Orlean as she distills the essence of Cuba in the story of a single restaurant, and with Judith Thurman as she investigates the arcane practices of Japan's tofu masters. Closer to home, Joseph Mitchell celebrates the old New York tradition of the beefsteak dinner, and Mark Singer shadows the city's foremost fisherman-chef.Selected from the magazine's plentiful larder, Secret Ingredients celebrates all forms of gustatory delight.
Saloon-keepers and street preachers, gypsies and steel-walking Mohawks, a bearded lady and a 93-year-old "seafoodetarian" who believes his specialized diet will keep him alive for another two decades. These are among the people that Joseph Mitchell immortalized in his reportage for The New Yorker and in four books--McSorley's Wonderful Saloon, Old Mr. Flood, The Bottom of the Harbor, and Joe Gould's Secret--that are still renowned for their precise, respectful observation, their graveyard humor, and their offhand perfection of style.These masterpieces (along with several previously uncollected stories) are available in one volume, which presents an indelible collective portrait of an unsuspected New York and its odder citizens--as depicted by one of the great writers of this or any other time.
New York City is not only The New Yorker magazine's place of origin and its sensibility's lifeblood, it is the heart of American literary culture. Wonderful Town, an anthology of superb short fiction by many of the magazine's most accomplished contributors, celebrates the seventy-five-year marriage between a preeminent publication and its preeminent context with this collection of forty-four of its best stories from (so to speak) home. East Side? Philip Roth's chronically tormented alter ego Nathan Zuckerman has just moved there, in "Smart Money." West Side? Isaac Bashevis Singer's narrator mingles with the customers in "The Cafeteria" (who debate politics and culture in four or five different languages) and becomes embroiled in an obsessional romance. And downtown, John Updike's Maples have begun their courtship of marital disaster, in "Snowing in Greenwich Village." John Cheever, John O'Hara, Lorrie Moore, Irwin Shaw, Woody Allen, Laurie Colwin, Saul Bellow, J. D. Salinger, Jean Stafford, Vladimir Nabokov--they and many other stellar literary guides to the city will be found in these pages. Wonderful Town touches on some of the city's famous places and stops at some of its more obscure corners, but the real guidebook in and between its lines is to the hearts and the minds of those who populate the metropolis built by its pages. Like all good fiction, these stories take particular places, particular people, and particular events and turn them into dramas of universal enlightenment and emotional impact. The five boroughs are the five continents. New York is every great and ordinary place. Each life in it, and each life in Wonderful Town, is the life of us all.
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