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Slaves of New York

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  2,573 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
A national bestseller in hardcover, this is a truly original collection of short works about the sometimes strange ways that men and women relate to eachother.
Paperback, 278 pages
Published June 1st 1987 by Washington Square Press (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jonathan Ashleigh
Sep 29, 2015 Jonathan Ashleigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book of short stories I have ever read that felt like a novel at some points. The characters are interesting and the dialog seems real and the characters you come to know are people you want to know about. Marley and Elenor are the main ones and their stories only coincide for a moment, but the rest of everyone seems like they could all be living in the same building. Because this is a book about New York with "New York" in the title, there is something understood going in and ...more
Marissa Morrison
"What happened? How did she lose her job?"
"Ah, this guy came into the deli and asked if they sold half a grapefruit. Lacey told the guy they didn't sell grapefruit halves, only whole ones. But this guy was very persistent and didn't believe her, and insisted she go and ask the manager. So she went into the back room, not realizing the customer was following her. And she yelled, 'Hey, Eddie, some asshole out there wants to buy half a grapefruit.' And then suddenly she realized that the customer w
Dec 28, 2007 W.B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
It's so hip to knock her, or was before she vanished completely from the "cool radar" like the fat kid in the ball bin at Chucky Cheese. Wait, that was a REALLY mixed metaphor! I like her. A sort of I LOVE THE 80s cheesiness and camp. She's not deep not because she's not smart, but probably because she realized early on that the ideological war thing is just a bunch of kids throwing goop and shit at each other on the subway. She got more interested in how or why people survive...or don't. Sort o ...more
mark monday
the writing is casual and chatty, the stories amusing and strange. sort of a trifle, yet such an enjoyable one.
Sh3lly ✨ Bring on the Weird ✨
This is another one of those authors I think is highly overrated. Maybe it's just me and I'm not cool enough to get it. It was okay, but nothing to fangirl over. It's one of those books you are supposed to read and really like to be in the cool literary crowd. I did read it a long time ago, so... maybe time has clouded my memory. I doubt it, but, you never know.
Moira Russell
Dec 20, 2009 Moira Russell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: underwhelmed
Terribly overrated.
I think the best thing about this book might be the hilarious cover.

Slaves of New York is a linked series of short stories which, while not adding up to a novel, are for the most part observant and fun takes on the art scene in New York City in the 1980s.

Many of the characters are met once and never heard from again but a few: jewelry designer Eleanor, and the artists Stash and Marley being the most prominent, are evenly spaced throughout. I feel that Eleanor with her neuroses and her quiet mus
John Porter
Jul 31, 2008 John Porter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished it. So I'm 20 years after the fact. Sue me.

Well, I liked it...but I'm sure that's at least partly a by-product of being old enough to remember New York in the 80s when artists (and junkies and drifters...sometimes combined in one body) could be found all over New York. It's a scattershot memoir of a time gone by; bittersweet for me. Hated the hair of the 80s; loved the experimentalism. The 80s took more chances than any decade of the century other than the 60s and, maybe, the 20s.

Jun 15, 2013 Deniz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-çeviri
Slaves of New York is made up of individual stories about people in the art scene in the 80s. The characters are very original, with some reccurring ones: Eleanor the jewelry designer, and Marley the "genius" painter. For me, the downside was the length of this book made up of unrelated stories. I wasn't enthusiastic about continuing after the first half because I knew there wasn't going to be any character development or plot twists I could be excited about. There were only many peeks inside li ...more
May 24, 2015 Robert rated it liked it
A collection of short stories centered on a few downtown NYC artists. Janowitz is not without talent, but too many of these stories feel almost extravagantly pointless, trailing off into a kind of deadpan absurdity or hipster poignancy (it took me over a month to finally finish it). I did enjoy the stories centered on Eleanor, a mixed up twenty-something jewelry maker involved in a bad relationship with a semi-successful artist named Stash; these seemed the most focused and relatable (not to men ...more
May 01, 2010 Relyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Relyn by: one of my magazines - I'll never listen to them again
Shelves: abandoned
This book - UGH! Of course, any book that starts out describing a variety of penises has got to be pretty horrible. It was. At first, the book was like a mystery I wanted to solve. Why on Earth would a major magazine like Oprah (I think that was the one.) recommend such a book? I'm thinking, "Surely the rest is better. Surely the start was a fluke." Nope, it wasn't. Aside for the unappealing (that's an understatement) subject matter, the writing really wasn't very good. I finally had to just sto ...more
Jan 03, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Haven't read it in a while, but fondly remember the characters. Janowitz shows us the NYC 80's art scene from the inside out. This book is a modern classic and is recommended to anyone interested in art, the eighties, or the struggles of urban life.
Semi-sharp satire of the New York art world in the 80s.
Not as brilliant, I think, as the blurbs on the wrappers make it out to be. But mostly good.
Marie Irshad
As a teenager I was a little obsessed with the idea of American artists living in lofts in New York, so this collection of short stories really appealed to me.

I've not read it since but I have overwhelming memories of being irritated to hell by the character Eleanor, a hat designer who appears in several of the stories. She's an annoying drip stuck in a relationship with a selfish artist boyfriend who treats her like crap. I couldn't understand why she stayed with him. Not entirely sure if I'd
I remember what a stir this caused when it came out; how vociferous were the jealous anti-Janowitz crowd. So anyway it was speaking to me with its gaudy '80s cover design (not shown here) and my memory of a cultural gap unfilled and so I succumbed to the $3.98 price and purchased same.

Read the first two stories and apart from the interesting physical detail and attitudes found them a tad quaint. But short and enjoyable. New York stories kind of interest me at the moment after having enjoyed Arth
Dec 09, 2008 Denis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The quintessence of the eighties can be found in this book, which caused a sensation then. It's still a delightful read, vividly written and quite insightful. New York glitters and fascinates, thanks to Janowit'z style. It's interesting how, now, already, this world somehow seems to belong to a lost era, giving to this book a kind of nostalgic patina that it didn't have at the time it was published. Janowitz beautifully writes about her city and makes you feel why it's such a unique, vibrant pla ...more
Dec 27, 2011 Cheri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 80's Lovers
Shelves: pop-lit
Of all the "hot" writers of the 80's, I have to say I have a soft spot for Tama Janowitz. During a time when everyone was writing about testosterone driven coke heads, she seemed to bring some much needed irony and humor into the mix. I can't say that it holds up to contemporary scrutiny, but in a sea of macho Top Gun types and Flashdancian strippers with a heart of gold - her characters gentle neuroses seem more real and touching.
Apr 02, 2014 Phyllis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
It took me ages to finish this because I frequently found it so depressing I had to put it down for a few weeks. I'm not sure how I feel about Tama Janowitz's writing--I like the humor, I like the characters in theory, and God help me I like how often she writes about what people are wearing or what their apartments look like, but there's something oddly dispassionate about her characters that makes me want to shake them.
Must have more. Need more now. Send help soon. I am not sure I will survive without more from this author immediately. I need it and I cannot go on without...more!!.
Please, tell me that her other works are congruent with this one. Because this is BRILLIANCE! Pure sheer Brilliance. I laughed hysterically, but it was more like scream laughing, it was seriously that funny. And it felt good to laugh that deep into my soul. I suggest you go purchase the movie as well, they are both amazing, and diff
Oct 11, 2013 Taube rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Satire that is as dated as a Punch and Judy puppet show.
Tommie Vaughn
Jul 16, 2012 Tommie Vaughn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time Favorites!!!
Kirsty Bates
Janowitz's writing is very hip. Her stories are short, they're arguably trivial and even -- pointless, they deal with all manner of hipsters and under-appreciated artists and the hypocrisies surrounding trying to 'make it' in New York. I think to some extent, she tries to achieve a kind of, disaffected carelessness when it comes to presenting their stories. After all, the media later placed her well within the centre of the infamous literary 'brat-pack'. There's no denying either that Janowitz w ...more
A.J. Llewellyn
Jun 26, 2013 A.J. Llewellyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-a-copy
I have had this book ever since it came out and couldn't sleep last night and pulled it off the shelf. Parts of this book have lived in my head since I first read it in the 1980's. I loved it then. I gobbled up this book in NYC at the time, visiting my brother who was living on Hudson Street. Tama put her finger on a time and place in NYC that is long gone, but still resonates.
If you want to know what the city was like then, this is it. Read it and weep. She is all that and a bag of chips.
When I
Jun 15, 2012 Chuck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I love short story books where the stories connect with each other. I've only read one other and that was "Adverbs" by David Handler. This one does the same thing, though it has a few short stories that are unrelated. They're sort of serial, but basically they all tell of the life and thoughts of people in the avante garde art scene in the 80's. I like how the author picked characters that were on the fringe of the scene, not ones that were completely submersed in it. In that same vein, I had a ...more
Jan 05, 2016 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: s, 2014, female-author
This is very much a novel of its time set in the consumerist 80's and it hasn't aged as well as others written around a similar time. Many of the characters as selfish and self-centred, focusing on where their next hit, drink or sexual encounter would come from.

The book itself is written as a set of short interlinking stories. Some of the characters appear more than once and others do not. Normally I like this style of writing as it makes it easy to pick up and put down when time is short, but
I had fonder memories of this that my re-reading discovered.

If ever there was a book of it's time, this may well be it.

The characters are shallow and neurotic, and the stories feel garbled and chaotic.

There are some sharply observed moments of satire in here, but it's really like panning for gold: the odd glimmer isn't going to totally enrich your life.

i found it a chore at times to finish reading it, and were it not for my OCD about finishing books I start, I may not have got through all this a
Apr 15, 2015 Nicholas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Slaves of New York seems best read as an artifact from New York's art world in the 1980s. It had occasional moments of humor, but more of just flat out absurdity. I don't think Janowitz intends for us to actually know any of the characters or necessarily find their predicaments particularly believable. She writes about the outlandish in order to poke fun at the foolishness and pretensions of denizens of New York's art scene. All that said, I also just didn't find it all that much fun, even thoug ...more
Bookish Jen
Oct 15, 2016 Bookish Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Tama Janowitz, alternative lifestyles, NYC, short stories
Recommended to Bookish by: Can't remember
Has it really been thirty years since Tama Janowitz’s collection of short stories Slaves of New York was released? I read it a several years after its initial release, and to me, a young girl who grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, Slaves of New York and Janowitz just defined the Big Apple to me, the way her WASPy peers Bret Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney and their literary offerings never did. But then again, as a dorky, most definitely non-WASPy kind of girl, this shouldn’t surprise me.

Jul 30, 2016 Scoats rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Most likely I bought this off a clearance table about 25 years ago. It has sat on a shelf and moved with me several times until I finally read it as part of my read-every-book-we-own project. My copy is an oversized paperback. The size that says "THIS IS AN IMPORTANT BOOK", too important to be printed in a more compact format. Adding to its importance are blurbs in all caps from famous people. So shouting was a thing before the World Wide Web even existed.

Set in 1980s downtown NYC, this book ex
Feb 29, 2016 Brigid rated it really liked it
I first encountered the title Slaves of New York as a small child in an even smaller town. I'm not sure where I saw it, probably in the glossy New York Times magazine that my parents still subscribed to despite abandoning what I at the time assumed to be urban sophistication to raise me among farms and trees. They continued to subscribe to the Sunday edition even though this required my father driving to the newstand in town early every Sunday to pick it up after the single copy was delivered to ...more
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Tama Janowitz is an American novelist and a short story writer. The 2005 September/October issue of Pages magazine listed her as one of the four "brat pack" authors, along with Bret Easton Ellis, Mark Lindquist and Jay McInerney.

Born in San Francisco, California to a psychiatrist father and literature professor mother who divorced when she was ten, Janowitz moved to the East Coast of the United St
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“I don't like him...he makes me feel like he's going to throw me in a coffin and walk around on top of it.” 2 likes
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