The long-winded lady


From 1954 to 1981, Maeve Brennan wrote for The New Yorker’s ‘Talk of the Town’ column under the pen name ‘The Long-Winded Lady’. Her unforgettable sketches – prose snapshots of life in small restaurants, cheap hotels, and crowded streets of Times Square and the Village – together form a timeless, bittersweet tribute to what she called the ‘most reckless, most ambitious, most confused, most comical, the saddest and coldest and most human of cities’.

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‘It was a weekday, an ordinary morning, business hours drawing near, but the evanescent appearance of the square said that anything might be about to happen – an operetta, a harlequinade, a pantomime, a fantasy…’ In these delightful, melancholy prose sketches Maeve Brennan goes in pursuit of the ordinary, taking us on a tour of the cheap hotels, unassuming restaurants, and crowded streets that make up New York City. Brennan presents herself as The Long-Winded Lady, solitary wanderer and wry observer of the human comedy. Whether she is riding the subway, struggling with her broccoli in a restaurant or watching lovers quarrel on Washington Square, Brennan manages to capture the wavering spectacle of the metropolis with an uncanny precision that makes these slight essays at once hallucinatory and hyperreal. Originally written for The New Yorker between 1954 and 1981 and presented here in full with a new introduction by Sinead Gleeson, these pieces reveal Maeve Brennan to be one of the

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Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 cm