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No Lease on Life

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  103 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
This book channels the rage, filth, anguish, and the bust-a-gut hilarity of pre-gentrified New York.

The New York of Lynne Tillman’s hilarious, audacious fourth novel is a boiling point of urban decay. The East Village streets are overrun with crooked cops, drug addicts, pimps, and prostitutes. Garbage piles up along the sidewalks amid the blaring soundtrack of car stereos.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published December 13th 2016 by Red Lemonade (first published 1998)
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MJ Nicholls
Nov 13, 2014 MJ Nicholls rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, merkins, distaff
What is better? Life in a hushed towerblock on the town’s outskirts where nothing but the clinking of champagne flues and the twittering of middlebrow bourgeois (hasn’t Mad Men gone downhill? OMG Twin Peaks is coming back!!!) from the flats below can be heard; or life in a streetside tenement with the thrum and rumble of the traffic (HONK! move your stinking Renault!) and pedestrians; or life in a Ballardian high-rise where filth and trash are dumped in the corridors, stoners practice their musi ...more
Jun 27, 2007 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patrick Ewing was sweating, drenched. A.C. kept talking to the cops on the car phone. O.J. wanted to go to his mother, to his home or to the cemetary, to Nicole's grave. Starks missed a basket. Elizabeth started to cry.
—What's the matter, Roy asked. The Knicks are winning.
If he did it, anyone could do it. No one was safe from each other or from themselves. He wants to go home to his mother.
—I just saw him in Naked Gun 33 1/3. He was funny, she said.
—The first Naked Gun was funnier.

and Mackey Sas
from publisher

Listened 5/29/12 - 6/15/12
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended to lovers of the cynical and insomniacial
Audio Download (approx 5 hrs)
Publisher: Iambik Audio / Cursor, Red Lemonade

I have been Elizabeth. Not in NYC, but in the Pocono's. In a gated development, on a quarter acre of land, in a house on a street that is draped in trees. Most developments are gated to keep the riff-raff out. Mine, we joke, is gated to keep the riff-raff in.

The outer walls of my home are extremely thin. I lie i
Charles Dee Mitchell
Tillman’s novel is like opening a time capsule buried in the East Village during the mid 1990’s. During a sleepless night and the following day, Elizabeth Hall endures the bottle-smashing morons, junkies who shoot up and pass out on her stairway, the homeless guy who shits in the foyer, hookers giving blowjobs in doorways and cop cars, a super with an almost ethereal approach to maintenance, and postal workers.

Elizabeth intersperse her travails with jokes, some old, some less familiar than othe
Nov 24, 2009 M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to M. by: mary
i liked this quite a lot. very strong voice, third-person limited used in a way i haven't seen before, something like "mrs. dalloway," i.e., assocational, memories stacked, triggered by setting; with an archness and cynicism appropriate for 90s nyc. very funny in parts, with jokes scattered throughout, breaking up the narration.

There was nothing Elizabeth could do about Jeanine, the elusiveness of sleep, or the stagnant effects of memory. Sleep wouldn't absolve her anyway. It wasn't her friend
Oct 26, 2010 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Elizabeth is a woman tortured by the elements surrounding her apartment: The morons breaking car windows outside, the super who hordes trash instead of cleaning it up, the junkies and hookers polluting the hallway. As Tillman paints a picture of New York City, circa the OJ trial/Knicks vs. Rockets finals, something odd happens to the reader: He/she becomes engulfed in Elizabeth's life, her struggles, even her occurring neurotic obsession to murder the kids making noise outside her window. Normal ...more
Feb 20, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mid 4. Simply adored how the narrator offers such a vibrant and realistic snapshot of the social malaise affecting the late twentieth century urban landscape. The reader can feel the claustrophobic existence of the apartment dweller as she observes the outcasts and predators on the streets below. So well-written and such a fantastic portrayal of New York street-life.
Lynne Tillman doing again what she does so well, step into a persona and never leave it to the point of consistency that borders on flatness. This book was amusing and sad.
Kio Stark
May 14, 2011 Kio Stark rated it really liked it
I really love Tillman's detachment, both the narrator and the central character are deliciously clinical here.
Jan 05, 2013 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very dark, very funny and beautifully written book about shitty neighbors, awful landlords and the uneasy compromise of living in a New York City that doesn't exist anymore.
Jun 16, 2009 James rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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Here’s an Author’s Bio. It could be written differently. I’ve written many for myself and read lots of other people’s. None is right or sufficient, each slants one way or the other. So, a kind of fiction – selection of events and facts.. So let me just say: I wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. That I actually do write stories and novels and essays, and that they get published, stil ...more
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“How many performance artists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
I don't know. I left early.”
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