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A Nest of Ninnies

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  100 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews

James Schuyler and I began writing A Nest of Ninnies purely by chance," writes John Ashbery in his new introduction to this classic of American comic fiction. "We were in a car being driven by the young cameraman, Harrison Starr, with his father as a passenger in the front seat . . . Jimmy said, 'Why don't we write a novel?' And how do we do that, I asked. 'It's easy—you w

Hardcover, 191 pages
Published June 25th 1997 by Ecco Press (first published 1960)
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The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollWatership Down by Richard AdamsThe Secret Of NIMH by Seymour Reit
Nests, Dens, Lairs, Holes, Lodges, Setts
42nd out of 68 books — 29 voters
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Fiction by Poets
18th out of 23 books — 10 voters

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Feb 07, 2008 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
"To me," Alice said, "off-white is just another word for gray."

Divine. A camp novel combining the wryness of Ivy Compton-Burnett and the mise-en-scene of, let's say, Cheever -- a send-up of suburban doldrums. Nest is like a gay(er) episode of Bewitched, with dinner-party debacles replacing supernatural hi-jinks. (Strange gourmets.)

But the setting is mostly irrelevant. You read this novel -- cowritten by two wits, Ashbery and Schuyler -- for the hilarious tonal shifts. Any excerpt fails to conve
Matt Walker
Feb 05, 2012 Matt Walker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
This is what happens when two extremely smart and well-read writers decide, on a lark, to collaborate on a very silly novel. It's at least 90% dialogue, with speaking roles for what seems like about three dozen characters (a big crowd for a book under 200 pages). One gets the sense that the authors were constantly trying to one-up each other and to throw each other curveballs by which hilarious turns of plot would come into being. The ease with which they toss around cultural references, mostly ...more
MJ Nicholls
Nov 11, 2010 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This brisk entertainment is good clean fun for those who like reading about affluent 1930s aesthetes having gay adventures in Paris, New York and Rome. (That's not a huge contingent of the marketplace, hence this book's unknown status. I liked it.)

John Ashbery, Pulitizer-winning poet of some 83 years is apparently on Goodreads, by the way, a fact I doubt very strongly.
Sep 02, 2016 Cindy rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
What intrigued me about this book was it's title. I thought it would be filled with silly characters doing funny things, but, I got to chapter 7 and was so bored I couldn't torture myself anymore!
Apr 15, 2010 Aileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had an amazing number of references to other literature! I loved it! It also had many little quips in French, Latin, and other languages, many of which I couldn't decipher. How funny to think this was a book about people in their late teens and early twenties because it seemed like the characters were much older with all their travelling and going out to eat and drink. A quick, entertaining read that I will probably pick up again someday and understand more of the references.
Feb 15, 2013 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I'd read this book before but I hadn't finished...and as I'm currently reading many novels by poets: i figured this would be great two of my favorite poets...but I just get the sense that everything they did was to get the other one to smile and it just ends up being precious and cute and sort of a let down. I think I will check on see what Schuyler can do on his own.
Mar 14, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books, for reasons I can't explain. Two families living in the quiet suburbs meet, talk, dine, talk, travel, meet others. Things happen, including some happy pairings, but really nothing much happens. It's like real life, but with much better--though pointless-- conversations. By the way,the authors are noted politics John Ashbery and James Schuyler.
Mar 25, 2009 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I flew through this book. It is an interesting mix of 1930's escapism, with a dash of the Holly-Golightly-60's, under a comedy of manners umbrella. It reads almost like a Wes Anderson story. Lots of fun!
Jul 06, 2007 Scott rated it liked it
Co-written with James Schuyler over a ten or fifteen year period. The novel has no plot to speak of and just gives us the ninnies in all their glory as they talk and talk.
Jaimie Gusman
May 18, 2010 Jaimie Gusman rated it really liked it
Just a fun, quick, witty, collaborative piece about a group of NY suburbanites who do silly things.
Mar 28, 2013 Maxe rated it liked it
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John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. He earned degrees from Harvard and Columbia, and he traveled as a Fulbright Scholar to France in 1955. Best known as a poet, he has published more than twenty collections, most recently A Worldly Country (Ecco, 2007). His Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (Viking, 1975) won the three major American prizes: the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, ...more
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“I could have made a casserole out of these things, but you always say you like to know what you're eating.” 1 likes
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