The Good People of New York

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( 687 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780375411458: The Good People of New York

A luminous first novel that brings a group of truly good people to life--in all their neurotic glory.

When Roz Rosenzwieg, a brash and radiant New York Jew, meets Edwin Anderson at a party, she can hardly believe that she is attracted to the soft-spoken Nebraskan; she marries him a few months later, and soon gives birth to their daughter, Miranda. A golden lit trail of good fortune. But as Miranda grows, Roz's love for her becomes so fierce and focused that it skews everything else in their lives (including Roz's marriage). And yet their comedic chemistry is also a great attractor--drawing them a wonderful, eccentric, and constantly changing cast of characters who enter the Roz and Miranda-centered universe at their own risk, with both unhappy and hilarious results. Whether it's Miranda's best friend from summer camp, Darrin, or Alex, the hippie film student who rents a room in their brownstone, or Miranda's orthodontist (and Roz's new love interest). the unsinkable Steven Stone, or even Edwin's second wife, Kathy, someone usually spills the secrets that Miranda and Roz keep from each other, provocation and protection being equal elements in their slightly screwy bond.

With spirited dialogue, off-beat humor, and a sharp and contemporary style, Thisbe Nissen delivers an irresistible and original debut novel.

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From the Back Cover:

"Thisbe Nissen writes with verve and energy that crackle off the page. The good people of New York could be the good people of anywhere--living their lives as fully as possible. With this novel, Thisbe Nissen has delivered on the glowing promise of her short stories." --Chris Offut, author of Kentucky Straight

"There's a generousness about the way she zooms in on her characters that lets the reader know she has an idea of boundaries, while her restraint never means that she's failed to reveal what's most important. You'll feel you've lived with her characters and grown up alongside them. Ms. Nissen has proved it: New York is a nicer place than outsiders think." --Ann Beattie, author of Perfect Recall

"Thisbe Nissen is a sharp and crafty writer, and The Good People of New York is about the unlikely combinations--friends, lovers, husbands, and wives--that are created when the melting pot's temperature is set a bit too low and identities do not melt but instead retain their integrity and place of origin. Her story is both funny and sorrowful, and it a great pleasure to read." -- Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love

"Thisbe Nissen delivers a dual coming-of-age story with insight, clarity, and grace." -- Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season

"Let's be honest: We readers slog through a lot of dispiriting novels in search of what The Good People of New York delivers so beautifully--fabulous characters that captivate, entertain, and transplant us from our own lives into theirs. I marveled at Thisbe Nissen's talent, and I thank her for such a wonderfully satisfying book. These pages sing, and this is a voice I'd follow anywhere." -- Elinor Lipman, author of The Ladies' Man

“Nissen has a style that is careful while remaining hilarious. And her chapter titles alone–to wit, ‘Any Strange Beast There Makes a Man’ and ‘Enter Certain Nymphs’–are enough for a recommendation. Her most curious device, however, is her habit of leaving us hanging just at things heat up. Major events are omitted, albeit gracefully, from her otherwise thorough account. It is in these devilishly clever gaps that Nissen invites us to interpose our own narratives, as if to emphasize to the reader what she does to her characters: The best people are those who are self-aware.”–Vogue

From the Inside Flap:

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.

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