Synopses & Reviews
A New York Times Book Review
“At the epicenter of literary New York, Menaker is an irreverent guide to the publishing world’s inner workings . . . His own journey, compelled by his self-knowledge and sense of humor, elevates this memoir into more than witty chatter.” — Chicago Tribune
“Impossible to resist.” — Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad
In these pages Daniel Menaker brings us a “ruefully funny insider’s tour of the publishing world” (Vogue.com). 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 passes, we witness 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.
“Tender, smart and witty, this book is truly unputdownable.” — Real Simple
“Energetic and exhilarating . . . [Menaker’s] clever, fast-paced prose makes you stop and think and wonder.” — New York Times Book Review
“At once jaunty and erudite . . . The writing simply shines.” — San Francisco Chronicle
"Over the past few years, New Yorker readers have been treated to the occasional personal reflection from Angell, stepping outside his usual baseball beat to write about such intimacies as his passion for sailing or his childhood fascination with the movies. It's the family drama that's of most immediate interest, as Angell recalls the divorce of his parents, Ernest and Katherine Angell, and his mother's subsequent remarriage to E.B. White, affectionately known as Andy. Or perhaps readers will be more eager to hear about life at the New Yorker, especially since Angell admits, 'I no longer expect to write' much more about his fellow writers and editors than the miniature portraits collected here (but thankfully we do have such scenes as the visit he and S.J. Perelman paid to W. Somerset Maugham while vacationing in France in 1949). Whatever the subject, Angell writes with his customary elegance and modesty; 'I've kept quiet about my trifling army career all these years,' he says in one essay, just before spinning off a series of captivating anecdotes about his WWII service. The assembled pieces add up to a fine memoir." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"It is the perfect book to read with one of Angell's vodka martinis." New York Times
"What Angell writes...contains truths: about loyalty and love, about work and play, about getting on with the cards that life deals you. It's also a genuinely grown-up book, a rare gem indeed in our pubescent age." Washington Post
"It turns out that in between the innings spent at baseball stadiums, Angell has lived well. The details unfold gradually in these stories, without hurry, but in time they add up to a rich portrait of a quintessential American life." Baltimore Sun
"Read together, Angell's casuals are painstaking craft, one that stops time and...relinquishes it. He uses memory not as a statement but as a hypothesis." Los Angeles Times
"Let Me Finish doesn't break new ground in the field of autobiography and memoir, but it reads fresh, and unlike nearly all recollections of recent vintage, makes you wish the writer had gone on a bit longer." Chicago Sun-Times
"Angell's writing remains fresh, lively, and appealingly thoughtful." Library Journal
"[T]here is an endearing objectivity...and a lingering sense of bemused surprise that so much can be remembered so fondly." Booklist
"Graceful and deeply felt." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] selective, meditative, bittersweet collection....Wistful, full of rich details of life in the 1930s and 1940s, and of midcentury times at the magazine....The quality of his prose and the tone of his voice make Angell a pleasure to read even when the material seems dutifully rather than passionately offered. And he remains a delightful raconteur..." Floyd Skloot, The Virginia Quarterly Review
(read the entire VQR review
"Here, at home inside a Jane Austen novel, I passed my college weekends, carving Sunday roasts and getting the station wagon serviced, explaining the double finesse in bridge, lacing up ice skates, sharing by radio the fall of Paris and the night bombings of London...having fallen not just in love but into a family." from Let Me Finish
Roger Angell has developed a broad and devoted following through his writings in the New Yorker and as the leading baseball writer of our time. Turning to more personal matters, he has produced a fresh form of auto-biography in this unsentimental look at his early days as a boy growing up in Prohibition-era New York with a remarkable father; a mother, Katherine White, who was a founding editor of the New Yorker; and a famous stepfather, the writer E. B. White. Intimate, funny, and moving portraits form the book's centerpiece as Angell remembers his eccentric relatives, his childhood love of baseball in the time of Ruth and Gehrig and DiMaggio, and his vivid colleagues during his long career as a New Yorker writer and editor. Infused with both pleasure and sadness, Angell's disarming memoir also evokes a sensuous attachment to life's better moments.
Widely known as an original and graceful writer, Roger Angell has developed a devoted following through his essays in the New Yorker. Now, in Let Me Finish, a deeply personal, fresh form of autobiography, he takes an unsentimental look at his early days as a boy growing up in Prohibition-era New York with a remarkable father; a mother, Katharine White, who was a founding editor of the New Yorker; and a famous stepfather, the writer E. B. White.Intimate, funny, and moving portraits form the books centerpiece as Angell remembers his surprising relatives, his early attraction to baseball in the time of Ruth and Gehrig and DiMaggio, and his vivid colleagues during a long career as a New Yorker writer and editor. Infused with pleasure and sadness, Angells disarming memoir also evokes an attachment to lifes better moments.
"A lovely book and an honest one . . . A genuinely grown-up book, a rare gem indeed in our pubescent age."— Washington Post Book World
In this acclaimed autobiography, Roger Angell takes an unsentimental look at his early days as a boy growing up in Prohibition-era New York with a remarkable father; a mother, Katharine White, who was a founding editor of the New Yorker; and a famous stepfather, the writer E. B. White. In intimate, funny, and moving portraits, Angell remembers his surprising relatives, his early attraction to baseball in the time of Ruth and Gehrig and DiMaggio, and his vivid colleagues during a long career as a New Yorker writer and editor. Infused with pleasure and sadness, Angells disarming memoir evokes an attachment to lifes better moments.
"Witty, worldly, deeply elegiac, and in places heartbreaking . . . a performance we can all be thankful for."—Boston Globe
"Graceful and garrulous. If ever someone was raised to write and edit, it was Angell."—USA Today
ROGER ANGELL began contributing to the New Yorker in 1944 and joined the staff as a fiction editor in 1956. He is the author of seven celebrated baseball books and two collections of short stories and humor. He lives in New York and Maine.
A wry, witty, often tender memoir by a former New Yorker and Random House editor who has great tales of a life in words.
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 brothers 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.
About the Author
DANIEL MENAKER began his career as a fact checker at The New Yorker, where he became an editor and worked for twenty-six years. A former book editor, Menaker is the author of six books; he has written for the New York Times, the Atlantic, Parents, Redbook, and many others.
Table of Contents
Movie Kid 21
The King of the Forest 29
Twice Christmas 52
Early Innings 57
We Are Fam-ilee 92
Getting There 138
Dry Martini 156
Permanent Party 165
Ancient Mariner 194
La Vie en Rose 203
At the Comic Weekly 215
Here Below 257
Hard Lines 285