Synopses & Reviews
New York City is not only The New Yorker magazine's place of origin and its sensibility's lifeblood, it is the heart of American literary culture. Wonderful Town, an anthology of superb short fiction by many of the magazine's most accomplished contributors, celebrates the seventy-five-year marriage between a preeminent publication and its preeminent context with this collection of forty-four of its best stories from (so to speak) home.
East Side? Philip Roth's chronically tormented alter ego Nathan Zuckerman has just moved there, in Smart Money. West Side? Isaac Bashevis Singer's narrator mingles with the customers in The Cafeteria (who debate politics and culture in four or five different languages) and becomes embroiled in an obsessional romance. And downtown, John Updike's Maples have begun their courtship of marital disaster, in Snowing in Greenwich Village. John Cheever, John O'Hara, Lorrie Moore, Irwin Shaw, Woody Allen, Laurie Colwin, Saul Bellow, J. D. Salinger, Jean Stafford, Vladimir Nabokov--they and many other stellar literary guides to the city will be found in these pages.
Wonderful Town touches on some of the city's famous places and stops at some of its more obscure corners, but the real guidebook in and between its lines is to the hearts and the minds of those who populate the metropolis built by its pages. Like all good fiction, these stories take particular places, particular people, and particular events and turn them into dramas of universal enlightenment and emotional impact. The five boroughs are the five continents. New York is every great and ordinary place. Each life in it, and each life in Wonderful Town, is the life of us all.
Published for "The New Yorker's" 75th anniversary, this anthology of works of and about the city features such authors as John O'Hara, Harold Brodkey, Wendy Wasserstein, John Updike, Jamaica Kincaid, John Cheever, and Julie Hecht--the list reads like a literary pantheon.
About the Author
DAVID REMNICK is the editor of The New Yorker. He began his career as a sportswriter for The Washington Post and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for Lenin's Tomb. He is also the author of Resurrection and The Devil Problem and Other True Stories, a collection of essays. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.
Table of Contents
The five-forty-eight / John Cheever -- Distant music / Ann Beattie -- Sailor off the Bremen / Irwin Shaw -- Physics / Tama Janowitz -- The whore of Mensa / Woody Allen -- What it was like, seeing Chris / Deborah Eisenberg -- Drawing Room B / John O'Hara -- A sentimental journey / Peter Taylor -- The balloon / Donald Barthelme -- Smart money / Philip Roth -- Another marvellous thing / Laurie Colwin -- The failure / Jonathan Franzen -- Apartment hotel / Sally Benson -- Midair / Frank Conroy -- The catbird seat / James Thurber -- Snowing in Greenwich Village / John Updike -- I see you, Bianca / Maeve Brennan -- You're ugly, too / Lorrie Moore -- Symbols and signs / Vladimir Nabokov -- Poor visitor / Jamaica Kincaid -- In Greenwich, there are many gravelled walks / Hortense Calisher -- Some nights when nothing happens are the best nights in this place / John McNulty -- Slight rebellion off Madison / J.D. Salinger -- Brownstone / Renata Adler -- The cafeteria / Isaac Bashevis Singer -- Partners / Veronica Geng -- The evolution of knowledge / Niccolo Tucci -- The way we live now / Susan Sontag -- Do the windows open? / Julie Hecht -- The Mentocrats / Edward Newhouse -- The treatment / Daniel Menaker -- Arrangement in black and white / Dorothy Parker -- Carlyle tries polygamy / William Melvin Kelley -- Children are bored on Sunday / Jean Stafford -- Notes from a bottle / James Stevenson -- Man in the middle of the ocean / Daniel Fuchs -- Mespoulets of the splendide / Ludwig Bemelmans -- Over by the river / William Maxwell -- Baster / Jeffrey Eugenides -- The second tree from the corner / E.B. White -- Rembrandt's hat / Bernard Malamud -- Shot : a New York story / Elizabeth Hardwick -- A father-to-be / Saul Bellow -- Farewell, my lovely appetizer / S.J. Perelman.