Myrna Minkoff 's Reviews > Letters of E.B. White

Letters of E.B. White by E.B. White
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's review
Jul 27, 2008

it was amazing

Here's a sample from this book that is simply to die for, from “The Hotel of the Total Stranger"


"Mr. Volente has just arrived at the train station in Manhattan, returning for a visit after years away. He is riding in a cab toward his hotel, on a steamy summer morning.

"New York is stretched in midsummer languor under her trees in her thinnest dress, idly and beautifully to the eyes of Mr. Volente, her lover. She lay this morning early in the arms of the heat, humorously and indulgently, as though, having bathed in night, she had emerged and not bothered to put anything on and had stretched out to let the air, what air there was, touch her arms and legs and shoulders and forehead, he thought, admiringly. The trucks and the sudden acceleration and the flippant horn and the rustle of countless affairs somewhat retarded by the middle-of-summer pause in everything, these were the sounds of her normal breathing (if you knew her well enough and had lived with her in this season in the long past) and her pulse, normal. It was the hour the earliest people were entering the buildings. Awnings were being cranked down already to spread the agreeable shade, the rectangles of relief sketched on the sidewalks. In every street the glimpse he caught of some door or some vestibule or some window would stir his memory and call up the recollection of something in his life that had once been.

“It was in this doorway…

“It was down that side street…

“It was in the back room of this café that…”

"That was the thing about New York, it was always bringing up something out of your past, something ridiculous or lovely or glistening. Here, all around him, was unquestionably the closest written page in the book of his life; here in the city in the streets and alleys and behind the walls and in the booths and beneath the roofs and under the marquees and canopies were the scenes of the story he remembered in tranquility, however poorly constructed, however unconvincing when retold.”


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