My Mistake

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9780547794235: My Mistake

A wry, witty, often tender memoir by a former New Yorker editor, magazine writer, and book publisher who offers great tales of a life in words

Daniel Menaker started as a fact checker at The New Yorker in 1969. With luck, hard work, and the support of William Maxwell, he was eventually promoted to editor. Never beloved by William Shawn, he was advised early on to find a position elsewhere; he stayed for another twenty-four years.

Now Menaker brings us a new view of life in that wonderfully strange place and beyond, throughout his more than forty years working to celebrate language and good writing.

He tells us his own story, too—with irrepressible style and honesty—of a life spent persevering through often difficult, nearly always difficult-to-read, situations. Haunted by a self-doubt sharpened by his role in his brother’s unexpected death, he offers wry, hilarious observations on publishing, child-rearing, parent-losing, and the writing life. But as time goes by, we witness something far beyond the incidental: a moving, thoughtful meditation on years well lived, well read, and well spent. Full of mistakes, perhaps. But full of effort, full of accomplishment, full of life.

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Book Description:

HMH hardcover, 2013, previous ISBN 978-0-547-79423-5

From the Back Cover:

Praise for My Mistake

"Menaker's distinctive journey through his own memories is impossible to resist—and not just for those of us with an appetite for literary anecdote. My Mistake is also the story of literary New York, with keen, vivid impressions." — Jennifer Egan

"My Mistake is only sometimes rueful. It is also frequently funny and splendidly precise as it takes a look back at a life led in the world of magazine editing and book publishing, a behind-the-scenes rumination of a time gone by. Intriguing now, it will be necessary later; readers will be thankful for this quirky and delightful piece of history." — Elizabeth Strout

"I can't remember when I've read a memoir this—let's say 'soulful.' Funny, sad, and wryly self-aware, Menaker shines a bright light on his own background, our literary life, and his own path through it." — James Gleick

"My Mistake brings to mind the poetic prose of James Agee. Menaker's stories of life as a fiction editor at The New Yorker and Random House are a delight, the way he tells them simply perfect. Humorous, thoughtful, heartbreaking and brave. I have not enjoyed a memoir more." — Julie Klam

"How can something written so accurately be so witty? Don’t you have to cheat a bit to wring the humor out of life? Daniel Menaker has constructed a compelling tale that irises down to a powerful and emotional climax and is delivered in exacting prose woven into affecting poetry." — Steve Martin

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