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In Darryl Pinckney's introduction, there were teasers of how Hardwick approached literature, whether in the reading or the writing of it. I want to read more of her. I want to read more of what she wrote, I want to read what she wrote about the things she read. I so have a crush now. That's the knee-jerk reaction to an author who likes to say "that there were really only two reasons to write: desperation or revenge.

Jul 31, Patricia Highsmith's Snail rated it it was amazing.

Elizabeth Hardwick's New York Stories

Maybe relevantly, the last few stories date from the late s, while the bulk is from the s. The story is, like most of the earlier ones in the collection, pretty unforgiving of human nature, while also criticising such mercilessness. The world of the collection is populated by intellectuals, aspiring intellectuals, layabouts, angry young women, ambitious women choosing between all-consuming relationships and the long and lonelier road to career success.

A lot of her characters believe in the objectivity of their worldview and then become paralysed by their unrealisable expectations of others and themselves. The later stories, after the break, are more dreamy and like character studies, but with momentum. What they all have in common is a compelling, incisive, self-reflexive intelligence that makes them seem oddly contemporary though I love the period detail - cold water flats, coffee in drugstores, etc.


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Sep 10, Rachel rated it liked it. Well, these are hit-or-miss. I believe Hardwick was primarily known for essays, which I have never read, so perhaps this just isn't her preferred writing format. She does fairly well with developing characters, but then you get to the end of each story and realize nothing more has happened.

Many lack not only what might be called a plot, but any action whatsoever, and are more like character sketches.

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The later stories are particularly dull, and many are just the stereotypical "an ordinary day i Well, these are hit-or-miss. The later stories are particularly dull, and many are just the stereotypical "an ordinary day in NYC is poetic just because it's NYC. I mean, not to be all snobbish but yeah, the streets are poetry, but people also live their actual lives here, that is why the city is interesting. Some of the earlier ones are pretty good, though.

That's the vexing thing - Hardwick can turn a phrase and write interesting little short stories, like "Shot: A New York Story" which is quite engaging, or "The Final Conflict" which is also a pretty good one, but it seems like most of the time, she just chooses not to, preferring hackneyed musings on "the city" or character sketches about dreary cheating spouses and that's the bulk of the story: so-and-so cheats on his wife. Since I have never read any of her other fiction, I won't dismiss her as a writer, but this book is not exactly a sterling example of good short fiction.

Jan 04, Gina rated it liked it Shelves: read-in These stories felt generally uninspiring to me. But most of the stories involve characters who don't do or experience anything particularly interesting. There are academics who don't like each other, painters don't like each other, peo These stories felt generally uninspiring to me.

There are academics who don't like each other, painters don't like each other, people have money but not a ton of money. The later, more experimental and prosaic stories from the s feature beautiful phrases but are hard to follow and are more general "life in the city is poetic by its existence" kind of writing.

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I preferred the more situation-driven because there's still no plot aspect of the last story, in which a black maid's murder becomes the occasion for the narration to describe the backgrounds and habits of her white employers, in a sly enactment of the way those of the servant class recede into anonymity. But overall, the collection is forgettable, making it difficult to read over any length of time. Sep 04, David Marchese rated it liked it.

New Yorkers with post-graduate degrees talk movingly about their feelings, often in a frustratingly causal and didactic fashion.

The New York Stories

Jul 16, Debbie Robson rated it it was amazing. The first story in the collection arranged chronologically is The Temptations of Dr Hoffman written in Evenings at Home written in is about the ambivalent feelings of a young woman who is visiting her family at home in Kentucky. This story like the first is also written strongly in the first person. How mad I was about you, how perversely aware of my sinful enjoyment of your affection for me. At the same time, her voice is somewhat remote, however forceful and fast her observations.

And then suddenly years have gone by and we are reading a short story that is more essay than short story at least for this reader.

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Sometimes while waiting for a taxi at Seventy-ninth Street, after midnight, it is possible with a certain amount of effort or with a little too much wine, to imagine the city returned to trees, old footpaths, and clear, untroubled waters, returned to innocence and nautical miscalculations and ancestral heroics And more importantly she resumed her use of the first person in fiction. For me it is the characters, their attitudes and their individual reactions to a tragedy, that make this story remarkable.

A highly recommended collection. Dec 11, Rachel rated it liked it Shelves: owned-books. I'll admit, I did lightly skim over some stories. I definitely enjoyed some more than others. Apr 17, Don Flynn rated it really liked it. The early stories here are conventional, drunk on extraneous words, as many writers were back then. Hardwick keeps it interesting through her characters though.

In a story called "The Purchase," about an older, successful painter's competition with a young upstart, the older painter is first repulsed by the young painter's wife, then unreasonably infatuated with her. Hardwick paints such a vivid picture of the woman that I began to have feelings for her myself. The older painter's sudden attract The early stories here are conventional, drunk on extraneous words, as many writers were back then. The older painter's sudden attraction made all the sense in the world.

The later stories are virtuosic, the evidence of a writer in full command of her powers. A couple of them come off as more memoir than fiction, but the precision of her craft make them a real joy to read. These come during and just after the time of Sleepless Nights, Hardwick's novel, was published. They are very much in the style of that book, which I loved.

Feb 01, Jackief rated it liked it. A few of these stories are memorable thus 3 stars , but generally a disappointment. Hardwick's stories are uncomfortable, and some are tiring, but a few--notably "Back Issues," "The Purchase," and "Evenings at Home" stand out for me. Feb 23, Libby rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in , short-stories. I love Elizabeth Hardwick in a way that will probably feel embarrassing to me in a few years. There's just something about her writing that feels deeply Like the narrator of Yes and No, she's not likeable but she's immediately understandable to me.

I like whingey overly detailed plotless stories about women who aren't as good as they think they are but still think they're better than everyone else. So this is almost perfect. May 16, Lonnie Brown rated it liked it. Her prose are deeply intellectual and her characters are complex. Her style of writing is probably impossible to imitate but there is a flow that resembles abstract artwork. The narrative seems to be concerned with who is observing and how that individual feels about the plot and characters; she forces readers to see what she sees.

Overall, I enjoyed the stories. Nov 23, Tom Buchanan rated it it was amazing. What a bizarre book. The first two thirds, maybe even three quarters of this book I could not get down with at all. Then all of a sudden it jumps to stories written a decade or two later and they're incredible. Like Renata Adler meets Leornard Michaels good. It feels weird giving a book a glowing recommendation but also recommending you ignore everything before pg.

I dunno. Jul 24, John rated it really liked it. In which people think they have more Great Potential then they probably actually do, but are still terrified of settling. Well-carved, thoughtful prose with the storytelling power to create deep interest in a very quiet scene with very ordinary characters. A book to dip in and out of. Jul 09, Woodland Animal rated it it was ok. Mar 16, Maria rated it it was ok.


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These stories are more character sketches, not short stories. They are interesting, but not engaging.

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Jul 05, Dillon rated it liked it. The first four stories the earliest written are excellent, the others are tedious Manhattan cosmopolitan stuff. May 02, Jake rated it it was ok. Not without charm, but a little slight, and very tedious when read consecutively. McCarthy is better at this sort of thing. Jul 17, Rachel rated it liked it Shelves: short-stories. It feels a little like sacrilege to write this about one of the co-founders of The New York Review of Books, but I didn't connect to her short stories very much.

Simply link your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership number to your Booktopia account and earn points on eligible orders. Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Your points will be added to your account once your order is shipped. Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! In "Sleepless Nights" a woman looks back on her life--the parade of people, the shifting background of place--and assembles a scrapbook of memories, reflections, portraits, letters, wishes, and dreams.

An inspired fusion of fact and invention, this beautifully realized, hard-bitten, lyrical book is not only Elizabeth Hardwick's finest fiction but one of the outstanding contributions to American literature of the last fifty years. A dazzling and difficult, fragmented and garnet-dark autobiographical novel - in which Hardwick locates "lost things," the singularity of places, and the images of those she has cared about from the Thirties up until the general vicinity of the present.

As the times and places swing by - Kentucky "the cemetery of home, education, nerves, heritage and tics" , Boston, Amsterdam, Maine, Manhattan - scenes and stories and people are caught in bits of lean prose and then brusquely strung together.


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Singer Billie Holiday, "stately, sinister and determined. The "dead Ph. A courteous Dutch doctor who luxuriously cossets three women. A shopping-bag lady and a muddled, impoverished grande dame: strangers staring at each other on a N. Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Be the first to write a review.

The Summer Book Tove Jansson. Sleepless Nights Elizabeth Hardwick. The Education of a Gardener Russell Page. Berlin Alexanderplatz Alfred Deoblin. Berlin Stories Robert Walser. Hard Rain Falling Don Carpenter. Eve's Hollywood Eve Babitz. Chess Story Stefan Zweig. Review quote "Hardwick wrote when she had something to say, and she took her time; the impression of ease is owing strictly to her style. Not a poet, she produced a poet's prose She honors our language and enlivens our woe.

In the novelist and critic Darryl Pinckney, Hardwick has a brilliant champion. He has gathered together the best of Hardwick's short fiction in The New York Stories of Elizabeth Hardwick, and, in his powerful and insightful introduction, he expresses something of the charm of the woman--and her great struggles to produce stories that reflected her unique process of intellection, her engagement in the world of ideas. A recipient of a Gold Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is the author of three novels, a biography of Herman Melville, and four collections of essays.

She was a cofounder and advisory editor of The New York Review of Books and contributed more than one hundred reviews, articles, reflections, and letters to the magazine. Rating details.

New York Stories

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