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The Grand Surprise: The Journals of Leo Lerman
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The Grand Surprise: The Journals of Leo Lerman

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  32 ratings  ·  10 reviews
A remarkable life and a remarkable voice emerge from the journals, letters, and memoirs of Leo Lerman: writer, critic, editor at Condé Nast, and man about town at the center of New York�s artistic and social circles from the 1940s until his death in 1994.

Lerman�s contributions to the world of the arts were large and varied: he wrote on theater, dance, music, art, book
Hardcover, 688 pages
Published April 10th 2007 by Knopf
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Faith McLellan
I didn't read this cover to cover, but rather dipped in and out of it, scanning for names I recognized, parties I was interested in. There are Bloomsbury connections, and Leo went to Churchill's funeral--but of course! There's a good bit of Yiddishkeit, which is always interesting to me. And a big helping of a New York that seems to have vanished. Bittersweet.
Kimberly Davis
Very dishy diaries of literary elite. Found stories about Garbo unsubstantiated, more third person gossip. Dietrich, who was Lermans friend, is a tragic figure who at her lifes end makes money by talking to pen pals who jerk off and send her $$$...!!!!! Loved the stories of his lifelong friend, Little T, Truman Capote.
This is an upscale beach book for a gay man of a certain age with an opera subscription. Since I am a gay man of a certain age with an opera subscription, I loved it! Great portraits of Maria Callas and Marlene Dietrich.
Carol Greer
A brilliant book, best read in snatches rather than straight through. I ached for Lerman -- I wanted him to write his brilliant novel, to find peace in his personal life, to quiet his demons.

It's a book with a lot of gossip, and I'm sure that's why many pick it up, but it's much more than that. It's a book about Lerman's longing for connection -- with his parents, his friends, and his lovers -- and about his search for meaning.
One of my favorite books of the last couple years. Somewhat like the Warhol Diaries of an earlier era. Leo knew everybody and anybody in NY fashion, art, publishing, opera etc. in his day. I think I ended up reading half a dozen other books about people and incidents mentioned here.
stays close at hand - you can open this book to any page and dive into the gossipy, dishy world of Leo Lerman - it's a window into that glamorous NY life everyone moved here to live
If the entire book were just the photo of the author kissing Martha Graham in 1974, I would still give it a well-deserved 5 stars.
Sam Schulman
Really much more amusing and less obnoxious than I would ever have thought possible.
Jul 24, 2007 Ellen added it
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Jan 11, 2008 Rebecca marked it as to-read
Shelves: biography, nonfiction
Revieved in New Yorker, looks extra interesting!
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