Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Although there are many enjoyable articles from more recent decades by gifted writers...it is the earlier selections...that evoke the deepest nostalgic pleasure." Publishers Weekly
"These energetic sketches capture brilliantly the moments and memories that comprise the daily life of the city." Library Journal
"An irresistible little treat for the New Yorker purists and latter-day fans all the same." Kirkus Reviews
The best of the best: the first collection spanning the history of "The Talk of the Town," edited by the New Yorker staff member with the longest memory of all, Lillian Ross, who wrote her first "Talk" story in 1945 and remains one of the magazine's wittiest reporters.
About the Author
As Lillian Ross writes in her Preface, Talk stories have today evolved into the sharpest, funniest, and often timeliest short-form writing in the history of the magazine. These little (a thousand words or less) gems now bear out the ultimate refinement of what Harold Ross wanted his magazine to be.