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THE FUN OF IT by Lillian Ross


Stories from The Talk of the Town

edited by Lillian Ross

Pub Date: May 8th, 2001
ISBN: 0-375-75649-3
Publisher: Modern Library

Seventy-five years’ worth of the New Yorker’s pithy, upfront mini-portraits of people and their times. Robert Benchley (1925) sets the tone—at once haute-monde, whimsical, and urban-sophisticate throughout—and Ross (herself a 45-year veteran of the section) caps it off (in 2000). America’s preeminent belletrists of the 20th century—Updike, Thurber, Liebling, E.B. White—here get their due for what was once an unsigned hallmark of the magazine. Harold Ross and, later, William Shawn make occasional appearances, and Jackie Onassis signs her name (in 1975) to a treatise on New York landmark preservation. There’s a trip to the dress shop with First Lady–elect Roosevelt on the eve of inauguration (1931); a talk with Norman Mailer, “whose novel ‘The Naked and the Dead’ has been at the top of the best-seller lists for several months now” (1949); a visit to a young playwright-turned-politician named Gore Vidal (1960); plus the best of the best from recent years.

An irresistible little treat for the New Yorker purists and latter-day fans all the same.