1.27.2005

SOMEHOW I DON'T THINK ADAM GOPNIK WORRIES ABOUT ONE DAY BECOMING A BAG LADY

Noted:
Witty, stylish, and beautiful, Maeve Brennan dazzled everyone who met her. Born in Dublin, she came to the U.S. with her father, Ireland's first Ambassador to America, and in her early thirties joined The New Yorker, where she was at the heart of the life of the magazine until she was nearly sixty. Under the pseudonym "The Long-Winded Lady," she wrote matchless urban postcards for the "Talk of the Town," and, under her own name, published fierce, intimate fiction. Today her forty-odd stories are anthology standards, prized by writers as different from one another as Alice Munro and Brennan's own nephew Roddy Doyle. But at the time of her death in 1993, she was obscure, indeed lost: She hadn't published a word since the 1970s, and she had slowly slipped into madness, ending as a bag lady in the streets of midtown Manhattan. It is Angela Bourke's achievement to trace this sad arc, and to bring her compelling personality to life. Thoroughly researched, beautifully written, and filled with a wealth of previously unpublished material, it will be welcomed by anyone interested in Ireland, The New Yorker, and a woman who remains one of the twentieth century's most distinctive prose stylists.
I've just added Angela Bourke's Maeve Brennan: Homesick at the New Yorker to my short list for future reading.

-Lauren
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