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Slaves of New York

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  2,941 ratings  ·  141 reviews
A coterie of artists, prostitutes, saints, and seers are all aspiring towards fame and hoping for love and acceptance. Instead they find high rents, faithless partners, and dead-end careers. Offbeat, funny and bitingly satirical, "Slaves of New York" sheds an incomparable light on the city's denizens and social mores.
Paperback, 278 pages
Published December 1st 2005 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 1986)
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,941 ratings  ·  141 reviews


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Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was the first book of short stories I have ever read that felt like a novel at some points. The characters are interesting and the dialog seems real and the characters you come to know are people you want to know about. Marley and Elenor are the main ones and their stories only coincide for a moment, but the rest of everyone seems like they could all be living in the same building. Because this is a book about New York with "New York" in the title, there is something understood going in and ...more
Marissa Morrison
Feb 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"What happened? How did she lose her job?"
"Ah, this guy came into the deli and asked if they sold half a grapefruit. Lacey told the guy they didn't sell grapefruit halves, only whole ones. But this guy was very persistent and didn't believe her, and insisted she go and ask the manager. So she went into the back room, not realizing the customer was following her. And she yelled, 'Hey, Eddie, some asshole out there wants to buy half a grapefruit.' And then suddenly she realized that the customer w
...more
Victoria
Must have more. Need more now. Send help soon. I am not sure I will survive without more from this author immediately. I need it and I cannot go on without...more!!.
Please, tell me that her other works are congruent with this one. Because this is BRILLIANCE! Pure sheer Brilliance. I laughed hysterically, but it was more like scream laughing, it was seriously that funny. And it felt good to laugh that deep into my soul. I suggest you go purchase the movie as well, they are both amazing, and diff
...more
W.B.
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
It's so hip to knock her, or was before she vanished completely from the "cool radar" like the fat kid in the ball bin at Chucky Cheese. Wait, that was a REALLY mixed metaphor! I like her. A sort of I LOVE THE 80s cheesiness and camp. She's not deep not because she's not smart, but probably because she realized early on that the ideological war thing is just a bunch of kids throwing goop and shit at each other on the subway. She got more interested in how or why people survive...or don't. Sort o ...more
Sh3lly
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is another one of those authors I think is highly overrated. Maybe it's just me and I'm not cool enough to get it. It was okay, but nothing to fangirl over. It's one of those books you are supposed to read and really like to be in the cool literary crowd. I did read it a long time ago, so... maybe time has clouded my memory. I doubt it, but, you never know.
mark monday
the writing is casual and chatty, the stories amusing and strange. sort of a trifle, yet such an enjoyable one.
Lukas Cabala
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poviedky o rôznych egomaniakoch, narcistoch, úbožiakoch, snaživcoch - všetko z umeleckej a možno i z pseudoumeleckej sféry - na pozadí skvelej newyorskej atmosféry 80tych rokov.
John Porter
Jul 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Just finished it. So I'm 20 years after the fact. Sue me.

Well, I liked it...but I'm sure that's at least partly a by-product of being old enough to remember New York in the 80s when artists (and junkies and drifters...sometimes combined in one body) could be found all over New York. It's a scattershot memoir of a time gone by; bittersweet for me. Hated the hair of the 80s; loved the experimentalism. The 80s took more chances than any decade of the century other than the 60s and, maybe, the 20s.

S
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Rachel Louise Atkin
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, new-york
3.5 stars. This is a collection of tales about New York City in the 1980s and is considered a major work of the literary brat pack. The best thing about this was Janowitz’s writing because it’s incredibly unique and addictive, weaving through the lives of various people around New York and daring you to follow them in their hedonistic and self destructive tirades.

I liked some stories better than others; the very last story was my absolute favourite and has left me genuinely haunted. At some part
...more
Moira Russell
Dec 20, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: underwhelmed
Terribly overrated.
C. Bella
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is terrific,amazing and well written.
Leo Robertson
Nov 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Too many stories syndrome! Just condense and tell the best 10. #Jesus
Deniz
Slaves of New York is made up of individual stories about people in the art scene in the 80s. The characters are very original, with some reccurring ones: Eleanor the jewelry designer, and Marley the "genius" painter. For me, the downside was the length of this book made up of unrelated stories. I wasn't enthusiastic about continuing after the first half because I knew there wasn't going to be any character development or plot twists I could be excited about. There were only many peeks inside li ...more
Robert
A collection of short stories centered on a few downtown NYC artists. Janowitz is not without talent, but too many of these stories feel almost extravagantly pointless, trailing off into a kind of deadpan absurdity or hipster poignancy (it took me over a month to finally finish it). I did enjoy the stories centered on Eleanor, a mixed up twenty-something jewelry maker involved in a bad relationship with a semi-successful artist named Stash; these seemed the most focused and relatable (not to men ...more
Relyn
May 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Relyn by: one of my magazines - I'll never listen to them again
Shelves: abandoned
This book - UGH! Of course, any book that starts out describing a variety of penises has got to be pretty horrible. It was. At first, the book was like a mystery I wanted to solve. Why on Earth would a major magazine like Oprah (I think that was the one.) recommend such a book? I'm thinking, "Surely the rest is better. Surely the start was a fluke." Nope, it wasn't. Aside for the unappealing (that's an understatement) subject matter, the writing really wasn't very good. I finally had to just sto ...more
Cheri
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: 80's Lovers
Shelves: pop-lit
Of all the "hot" writers of the 80's, I have to say I have a soft spot for Tama Janowitz. During a time when everyone was writing about testosterone driven coke heads, she seemed to bring some much needed irony and humor into the mix. I can't say that it holds up to contemporary scrutiny, but in a sea of macho Top Gun types and Flashdancian strippers with a heart of gold - her characters gentle neuroses seem more real and touching.
Rebecca
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Haven't read it in a while, but fondly remember the characters. Janowitz shows us the NYC 80's art scene from the inside out. This book is a modern classic and is recommended to anyone interested in art, the eighties, or the struggles of urban life.
Jessica
Semi-sharp satire of the New York art world in the 80s.
Not as brilliant, I think, as the blurbs on the wrappers make it out to be. But mostly good.
Marie Irshad
As a teenager I was a little obsessed with the idea of American artists living in lofts in New York, so this collection of short stories really appealed to me.

I've not read it since but I have overwhelming memories of being irritated to hell by the character Eleanor, a hat designer who appears in several of the stories. She's an annoying drip stuck in a relationship with a selfish artist boyfriend who treats her like crap. I couldn't understand why she stayed with him. Not entirely sure if I'd
...more
Denis
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
The quintessence of the eighties can be found in this book, which caused a sensation then. It's still a delightful read, vividly written and quite insightful. New York glitters and fascinates, thanks to Janowit'z style. It's interesting how, now, already, this world somehow seems to belong to a lost era, giving to this book a kind of nostalgic patina that it didn't have at the time it was published. Janowitz beautifully writes about her city and makes you feel why it's such a unique, vibrant pla ...more
Evan
I remember what a stir this caused when it came out; how vociferous were the jealous anti-Janowitz crowd. So anyway it was speaking to me with its gaudy '80s cover design (not shown here) and my memory of a cultural gap unfilled and so I succumbed to the $3.98 price and purchased same.

Read the first two stories and apart from the interesting physical detail and attitudes found them a tad quaint. But short and enjoyable. New York stories kind of interest me at the moment after having enjoyed Arth
...more
Phyllis
Mar 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
It took me ages to finish this because I frequently found it so depressing I had to put it down for a few weeks. I'm not sure how I feel about Tama Janowitz's writing--I like the humor, I like the characters in theory, and God help me I like how often she writes about what people are wearing or what their apartments look like, but there's something oddly dispassionate about her characters that makes me want to shake them.
Tommie Vaughn
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my all time Favorites!!!
Taube
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Satire that is as dated as a Punch and Judy puppet show.
Matthew
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had been looking for a book exactly like Tama Janowitz’s Slaves of New York. Not so much one made up of loosely connected short stories – though it’s an approach I’ll almost always find irresistible, even if executed haphazardly – or that romanticized an era which has always fascinated me (in this case, the early 1980’s). If anything, I was looking for the literary equivalent to Nan Goldin’s landmark photo exhibit, “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency”. What do you know, it’s been right under my n ...more
berthamason
I started Slaves of New York after reading both Thomas DePietro’s and Jay McInerney’s reviews of the book. At first, I found their criticism harsh but as I delved into the book I ended up agreeing with most of the points made by them. I agree with McInerney’s remark that the characters in Janowitz’s short stories “do not experience catharsis or epiphany”, “stories are static” and the “maddening passivity” displayed by these characters is “reflected in the narrative stance”.

I found Eleanor parti
...more
Brian Winkles
Feb 05, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A book for sleeping soundly.

First third... Not bad. The rest... I kept dozing off. Thank you and you, and goodnight to all and all.
Chuck
Jun 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I love short story books where the stories connect with each other. I've only read one other and that was "Adverbs" by David Handler. This one does the same thing, though it has a few short stories that are unrelated. They're sort of serial, but basically they all tell of the life and thoughts of people in the avante garde art scene in the 80's. I like how the author picked characters that were on the fringe of the scene, not ones that were completely submersed in it. In that same vein, I had a ...more
Kirsty Bates
Oct 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Janowitz's writing is very hip. Her stories are short, they're arguably trivial and even -- pointless, they deal with all manner of hipsters and under-appreciated artists and the hypocrisies surrounding trying to 'make it' in New York. I think to some extent, she tries to achieve a kind of, disaffected carelessness when it comes to presenting their stories. After all, the media later placed her well within the centre of the infamous literary 'brat-pack'. There's no denying either that Janowitz w ...more
A.J. Llewellyn
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own-a-copy
I have had this book ever since it came out and couldn't sleep last night and pulled it off the shelf. Parts of this book have lived in my head since I first read it in the 1980's. I loved it then. I gobbled up this book in NYC at the time, visiting my brother who was living on Hudson Street. Tama put her finger on a time and place in NYC that is long gone, but still resonates.
If you want to know what the city was like then, this is it. Read it and weep. She is all that and a bag of chips.
When I
...more
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Tama Janowitz is an American novelist and a short story writer. The 2005 September/October issue of Pages magazine listed her as one of the four "brat pack" authors, along with Bret Easton Ellis, Mark Lindquist and Jay McInerney.

Born in San Francisco, California to a psychiatrist father and literature professor mother who divorced when she was ten, Janowitz moved to the East Coast of the United St
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“I don't like him...he makes me feel like he's going to throw me in a coffin and walk around on top of it.” 3 likes
“...and it made me uncomfortable the way this guy was eating a scrawny chicken wing and looking at me. You know, I just wanted to tell him to knock it off and be a person.” 2 likes
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