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Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  812 ratings  ·  87 reviews
From the editor of the celebrated anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, comes a new collection of original essays on what keeps writers tethered to New York City.

The charming first anthology Goodbye to All That inspired by Joan Didion's classic essay about loving and leaving Manhattan chronicled the difficulties and disappointments inherent
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Gallery Books
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Sari Botton
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I would like to point out that several of the one-star reviews here are by people who are targeting just one of the twenty-seven contributors. Some admit they haven't even read the book, but just want to taunt or hurt that writer. There are twenty-six other writers in the book, though. Putting it together and editing it took a tremendous amount of work, and I hope you will keep this in mind when seeing all those one-star reviews that have brought the average star rating so far down. BTW, I am ...more
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Ugh, I don't know, 2.5 stars. Botton could've done a MUCH better job curating authors for an anthology about loving New York. For one, a few of them have left, which was what her preceding book as about. Two, it is overwhelmingly white and straight (jesus, even the couple who met through a gay and lesbian fiction seminar were straight). I would've loved to have seen types like Samuel Delaney and Sarah Schulman, whose works embody what New York is really about to me, much better than this ...more
A motley selection of writers reflects on what New York City has meant to them and why, even if they happen to move away, it often remains an influence on their life and work. “New Yorkers are all collectors,” Jason Diamond observes, “often of things we don’t necessarily want or really need.” Many collect favorite galleries or restaurants; another contributor, Colin Harrison, collects city maps from all eras; but Diamond argues that what most people amass is simply “things to kvetch about.”

Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is similar in several respects to its predecessor, "Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York", save for the fact that in the former book, the reader is treated to the perspectives (in essay form) of BOTH men and women writers, actors, and artists who have made New York City their home. Readers who have either - like me - spent time in New York over the years, be it as visitors or residents, OR have come to love the city from afar without having experienced it ...more
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rosanne Cash is a fantastic writer! Maybe everyone already knew this and I'm the last one to figure it out. Philip Lopate's essay for this collection is great; so is Nick Flynn's and Adelle Waldman's and Owen King's.
Oct 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Here’s the thing about New York: It touches you. It’s really that simple and basic. Whether its touch compels you to spend a lifetime in its grip or the touch results in a momentary-lapse-of-logic-temporary sojourn, it doesn’t matter. Once you have set foot on its gum-sticky concrete, you have been affected. That’s the theme that comes across loud and clear in the anthology, Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York, edited by Sari Botton. This anthology comes on the ...more
Annette Chidzey
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a revelation for me as it enabled me to discover why so many writers found themselves inextricably linked to the vibrant but demanding city of New York.
I am not sure if my engagement was also because I could so readily visualise the East Village, Soho, the West Village, the Upper West and other specific locations that I had just visited while based in this city for a week or so.
The writing was compelling and captivating to me and reminded me why so many find it difficult to get
Jenn Estepp
Hit or miss, as most collections tend to be. But for every totally forgettable offering (*cough* Whoopi Goldberg), there's something really compelling balancing things out. Overall, as someone who lives in New York, constantly thinks about leaving and hasn't managed it yet, there was a lot that I could relate to.

{Also, if you are one-starring this because of K. Hale's presence, I understand where you're coming from, but she's one of almost thirty contributors and it's kind of shitty to everyone
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I picked up in NYC on my last visit, and follows on from Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, a collection that I also thoroughly enjoyed. This book is more diverse in its writers (both male and female), and again has the common theme of the writers' experiences of the city, either at specific points or during the whole time they have lived there. Naturally right up my street!
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
i’m pretty sure i have a bit of an obsession with books about new york, even if reading then makes me want to be there so much i ache with it.

i didnt love all of the stories/essays(?) in this collection, but i did love a lot of them and also the overall feeling i got from the book as a whole.

if you’re even a little bit in love with new york then you should read this!
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
I don't condone stalking. It's a shitty thing to do. However, I also don't condone punishing innocent people for the actions of one guilty person. Other people have given this book one star simply because Kathleen Hale was one of twenty-seven authors to contribute a story to this book, and they have stated so in their reviews and/or that they have not read the book for that same reason.

JFC, come on, really? I know people are doing that to the novels Hale wrote, but to attack an anthology on the
Stephanie Ellis
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a great read - a variety of excellent writers on one of the most interesting places on earth. I found myself flipping around to different essays depending on my mood. There is a great emotional range in the various essays. I highly recommend this book for any NYC lover!
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I read the majority of these stories just before heading out to church on Christmas Day. Oddly enough, these stories put me in an even more holiday mood.

One, because I grew up on Long Island and spent many months after college “hitting the pavement” going on one job interview after another that badly run employment agencies sent me on.

Two, because looking back, I was proud of knowing the East side from the West side (anything below 20th street baffled me and i got freaked out when Fifth Avenue
Rachel Brown
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book and its sentiments for New York. The writing was rich and thoughtful and beautiful, and I really liked that each essay stood alone—it made it easy to pick up a few chapters here and there in between reading a novel. I liked savoring the chapters bit by bit, really letting them soak in. Some were funny while others were wistful, but all were poignant + filled with life lessons. I will definitely snagging a copy of this book for my personal library so I can reread these essays ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lovely little anthology with some very good writing. Loved this more than Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York.

The best essay in it (speaking as a reader who works in publishing) is "Publishing: A Like Story" by Maris Kreizman. I loved being able to say that I read this while on the subway, riding to my publishing job.

Some good quotes:

"That first apartment I lived in on Berry Street is now probably six to ten thousand dollars a month. We passed the new restaurants that had
Apr 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
I bought this book when after 2 years of living in the city, I was feeling the city growing on me. But the book is a disappointment, to say the least. A very depressing book about a very vibrant city :( It is extremely boring, sad & repetitive after the first few essays. Completing this book was an almost year long drag.
I did like the (probably the only thing I liked in this book) one-liners interspersed here and there about life in New York City.
1. There was clarity inside when there was
Jeff Lanter
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it
It is rare for a book to make little to no impact on me or for me to forget much of what I read by the time I finished, but that is mostly the case here. I think the problem is that these "essays" are so short. Many are 5-6 pages long which makes it very hard for them to have very much depth or to make any impact on the reader. Some of the essays focus heavily on pre-2000's New York and while I have some idea of what it was like, I never visited New York when it was dirtier and more dangerous.

Michael Shore
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I SOOO LOVE NYC! Thank you Eric and Lauren for this book which was the perfect gift for me. Each person's 'love' story with NY was different but yet they all reminded me of the so many varied reasons i am more in love with NY now, than I was when i was 'younger'. Starting with perhaps my favorite story, by Rosanne Cash, all the way to the end, each writer told their 'NY Story' with passion, love, and great detail of how NY captured their hearts, mind and soul. Some of the stories told of how the ...more
Reading this book was more like attending a support group of neurotic New Yorkers striving for meaning. To my mind most of the content seemed pretty narcissistic, and to consume the same kind of self-absorbed "New York City is where I became me" - story again and again was actually boring.
Claus Nissen
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captures the NY experience

Great compilation of personal stories about how New York tends to stay embedded in you once you leave. Some stories better than others - but taken together you have got to love the variety of perspectives.
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-books
A solid read for NYC lifers and transplants alike. Best essays includes those by the editor, Roseanne Cash, Julie Klam, Adam Sternbergh, Brian Macaluso, Elizabeth Gilbert, Maris Kreizman, and Adelle Waldman. The good, the bad and the ugly, it's all here and I love it anyway.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
really great. so many great stories. you know when you feel sad to finish a book because then it's over but you want to read more? I felt sad to finish this book - so i went & bought 'Goodbye to All That'!
more! more!
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you’ve ever been pick-pocketed by a junkie, or roomed with an artist who painted with his own blood and semen, or watched two rats fight over human feces, then I have a must-read for you. Ever wondered why papaya drinks are always sold with hotdogs? Or fantasize about owning a house with storage space for reams of paper towels, but know you’re not fit to live anywhere but New York? Have you ever visited the City, thought, what if I just don’t go home? and, two years later, you’re still there ...more
Jonathan Tennis
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Collection of essays about NY writers and their love for NY. Nicely put together and an enjoyable read.

“Hemingway wrote about Paris being a moveable feast, the kind of place that stays with you for the rest of your days once you’ve truly experienced it. That’s what this place feels like to me. No single city truly affects a person like New York does. It’s one of those undisputed truths the world over; you either hate it for your own reasons, or you can’t ever shake the feeling of being there.”
The introduction for this book warned me about what was to follow but I ignored it. To be fair much of my disappointment comes from comparing it to Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, which is a superb collection of short stories about life in New York. The introduction tells us this is a response to criticism of that earlier book though, and ends up both trying far too hard in places, and falling short in many too.

Botton addresses two big criticisms of the earlier work
Peter Knox
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
The leaving-New-York story has been so overpublished in Medium, that its become its own genre. And then a collection. But then this backlash response, a collection of essays about loving and not leaving NYC. I didn't read the first collection, because I'm not leaving.

When I bought my first apt. ever and it happened to be in Brooklyn, earlier this year, I felt like I was ready to read this book I've had laying around forever. And it's funny because I certainly connected better with certain
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
My junior year of undergrad, the year that I started falling in love with New York and the time I spent living there, I read Botton's other anthology Goodbye to all That (purchased outside the Strand bc I saw Cheryl Strayed's name on the cover, it was about NYC, and it was a dollar). At the end of every essay I'd have to exhale and grin to myself--didn't these people know what they were missing out on? I, at the ripe age of 20, knew that NYC was the best place to be. Each essay was a bolster to ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A collection of experiences from some native New Yorkers and more transplants which captured the good and the bad and the mysterious draw of NYC. Coincidentally or by design, the first page of the first essay, written by Rosanne Cash, spoke right to me: This place knew who I was without me having to explain myself. I felt as if I'd been struggling to speak a foreign language my whole life and unexpectedly found myself dropped into the country of my native tongue. ... I belonged here. It was more ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: stopped-reading
I read about half of these then stopped. The only really engaging story I found was Elizabeth Gilbert’s because it didn’t start with the formulaic “My first apartment in New York City was....”. Her story was unpredictable and spoke about one very specific time in New York - when she worked at The Coyote Ugly Bar. Also Colin Harrison’s story was fascinating to me because he wrote about collecting maps of New York City. The others I read were mediocre at best and lacked diversity.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful anthology and perfect love letter to New York City! I've never lived in NYC, but I have spent a lot of time there and it's very special to me. These essays really captured those feelings perfectly. My favorites were Whoopi Goldberg's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in New York City, Elliott Kalan's City of Mundane Fantasy, and Rosanne Cash's New York, In the Mirror
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