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A delightfully satisfactory revelation--and yet not really surprising--that the Long-Winded Lady of The New Yorker's Talk of the Town is Maeve Brennan, author of last year's In and Out of Never-Never Land. Through many many weeks, the Long-Winded Lady has pursued her gossipy recognitions among New York City street scenes, restaurants, subways, and people in diverting and curious arrangements. As in her short story collection, Miss Brennan instantly perceives a special genus of secret signs which people cast up to one another in love or distress. Here is the ""lost lady"" hurling her disaffection at her tiresome husband by a refusal of two chops; the placid sobriety of a man with an umbrella among the disheveled gaiety of storm-tossed wayfarers in a bar; a man and his son on Broadway suspended beautifully, fully, in a ""true perspective"" of each other. There are city omens too--Sixth Avenue redeemed in the snow, the suprareality of summer heat, and that small masterpiece, ""A Mysterious Parade of Men,"" marching unheard, unheralded, down Forty-fourth Street, shoulder-to-shoulder in black suits on an early Sunday morning. The Long-Winded Lady melts in and out of city clusters--confronting Cruelty, Stupidity and Bad Noise in a quiet book shop; brooding on the anatomy of broccoli; blithering through ""the right thing to do"" on the A train. As the Long-Winded Lady herself mused, concerning a small American farmhouse set among city warehouses, ""a respite, a touch of grace, something simple that keeps us wondering"" is perhaps what we are waiting for. Brief tales with just that touch of grace.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1969
Publisher: Morrow