Synopses & Reviews
Katherine Lanpher, whose essays have appeared in the New York Times
magazine, officially moved to Manhattan on a leap day, transferring from a rooted life in the Midwest to a new job, a new city, and a new sense of who she was. But re-invention is a tricky business and starting over in the middle of life isn't for the feint of heart.
Katherine Lanpher's short essay on her first six months in New York "A Manhattan Admonition" was published last August in the New York Times op-ed page and remained on their list of most e-mailed stories for weeks. Now she has written a book chronicling how her past life and loves have prepared her for unexpected discoveries in her new home. Lanpher looks back on her marriage, her early days in newspapers, and her childhood in the Midwest. And, with startling insight, she examines her new world how beauty is defined in New York, how the landscape differs from the Midwest, and how good food and books have been constants in her life.
The tone of her essays mixes the emotional depth of Anna Quindlen with the quirky wit of David Sedaris
"Lanpher, a journalist, spins cultural vertigo into comedy after forsaking her native Midwest for New York in 2004, at age 44, to cohost Al Franken's radio show on Air America a gig that demands the good-natured wit and epigrammatic aplomb on display here. 'I came of middle-age in Manhattan,' she writes, a city in constant flux that strikes her as a fitting spot to undergo her own transitions. Recently divorced and largely friendless, she readily acknowledges the hurdles she faces in the Big Apple compounded by the insecurity of living in a younger, slimmer city. But Lanpher finds kindness in the crowds, and her zingers (often flung at her own expense) render her narration upbeat. Though her name is linked with liberalism, her memoir's focus is more personal than political: a reflection on midlife's transition and a cultural comedy of manners, as she marks the rituals of becoming a 'true New Yorker,' growing savvy about everything from the corner bodega to the wheel-greasing 'baksheesh.' First flummoxed, then smitten, by Manhattan's 'tough-love' demeanor and colorful hordes, she rehashes her 'fish-out-of-water' encounters with poignant candor and unconcealed wonder, all in a quest to find a way to call Manhattan home." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Despite her heartaches, both public and private, Leap Days proves that Lanpher has plunged into the second half of her life with derring-do and a spirit of adventure." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Tempting fare for anyone who's ever wondered: Who am I and how did I get here?" Kirkus Reviews
A witty and wise compilation of essays on the subject of reinventing oneself at midlife draws on personal experience to describe her transfer from an established life in the Midwest to a new job, new city, and new sense of identity, looking back on her own past and offering keen insights into her new world in New York City, as well as the constants in her life.
About the Author
Katherine Lanpher was most recently the co-host on "The Al Franken Show." Her writing has appeared in The New York Times and More magazine, as well as several regional newspapers. She hosts "Liberal Arts," a performance and interview show for Air America that features a diverse roster of artists and writers. Before her midlife move she was the host of Minnesota Public Radio's Midday Show.