The Long-Winded Lady: Notes from The New Yorker

Brennan, Maeve

Published by Counterpoint, 2009
ISBN 10: 1582435014 / ISBN 13: 9781582435015
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Synopsis: From 1954 to 1981, Maeve Brennan wrote for The New Yorker’s Talk of the Town” department under the pen name The Long-Winded Lady.” Her unforgettable sketches prose snapshots of life in small restaurants, cheap hotels, and crowded streets of Times Square and the Village together form a timeless, bittersweet tribute to what she called the most reckless, most ambitious, most confused, most comical, the saddest and coldest and most human of cities.” First published in 1969, The Long-Winded Lady is a celebration of one of The New Yorker’s finest writers.

Review: Editors at the New Yorker may come and go, but readers will always return for the great cartoons and the "Talk of the Town." One of the best-loved contributors to the latter--the magazine's own brand of gossip column--was Maeve Brennan who, from 1954 to 1981, offered her wry observations of New York life under the sobriquet "The Long-Winded Lady." This compendium of her articles was first published in 1969 and is now reprinted with the addition of nine more previously uncollected pieces. The result is the answer to every "Talk of the Town"-lover's prayer.

Take, for example, "A Young Man with a Menu," in which Brennan watches "a young man persuade a girl to join him for dinner by reading the menu to her over the telephone." She describes the restaurant, Longchamps, as "ready-made for episodes of intrigue and pursuit" and the first appearance of the young man--"his expression as he entered the restaurant said that he was intent on something--one thing--and indifferent to everything else." She takes us through the phone call, which she observes from a distance: "He read from all sections of the menu. I had a menu of my own, so I could tell just about where he was." But, typically Brennan-like, she ushers us out of the piece just as the girl arrives, without letting us "even see the color of her hair." Every piece in this collection is as precise and as surprising as this one; anyone who loves New York, The New Yorker, or Maeve Brennan will savor The Long-Winded Lady. --Alix Wilber

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Title: The Long-Winded Lady: Notes from The New ...
Publisher: Counterpoint
Publication Date: 2009
Book Condition: very good

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