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The Long-Winded Lady: Notes from The New Yorker

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  335 ratings  ·  49 reviews
From 1954 to 1981, Maeve Brennan contributed to "The New Yorker's" "Talk of the Town" department under the pen name "the long-winded lady." Her unforgettable sketches--prose snapshots of life in the streets, diners, and cheap hotels just off Times Square--are a timeless, bittersweet tribute to what she calls the "most ambitious, most comical...saddest and coldest and most ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published December 31st 1998 by Mariner Books (first published 1969)
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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  335 ratings  ·  49 reviews


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Emily
Apr 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves the city
maeve brennan was a lesser known writer for the New Yorker, who eventually cracked up and began living in her old office, even though she was no longer writing for the magazine. becuase the editors were such nice people, they let her live there, even take "baths" in the restroom sinks. (ah, the good old days when job security meant something.) before this sad turn, she wrote some of the loveliest observations of other people i have ever read. read this book during your commute, and you will find ...more
Katherine Lika
I discovered Maeve Brennan through Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own earlier this year. Kate Bolick's devoted admiration for Brennan moved me, and I wanted a clearer picture as I knew I would at least like her from what I had already read about her life. But now that I have read her work, the reasons for Bolick's devotion are clear to me, and I join her in admiration for such a compelling author.

The Long-Winded Lady is a collection of observations considering the people and landscapes of NYC
...more
Eva Viktória "Evel"
Bežiaci komentár Maeve Brennan ku každodennému životu mesta z pohľadu vykoreneného kaviarňového čuda. Knižku som zhltla výlučne medzi spánkovými pauzami na ceste Čadca - Praha, rozumej je to jednoduché, fascinujúce, a aj napriek miernej repetitívnosti pútavé (ale ak chcete byť skutočne hardcore alebo obsedantne trváte na úplnom ponorení sa do textu, zoberte si k tomu mapu Manhattanu). Keďže som už o Maeve Brennan a jej živote niečo čítala, mala som však počas celého čítania tak trochu clivé nála ...more
Zuzana
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kiež by niečo podobné napísal niekto aj o Bratislave! (nemyslím Borisa Filana)

Len také pozorovania sediac v kaviarni o bratislavských dôchodkyniach, ako si prišli dať čaj a porozprávať sa o vnúčatách, o skupinke vystajlovaných dievčat objednávaúcich si capuccino a fotiac sa s ním na Instagram, o bande mladých tridsiatnikov-hipsterov práve rozoberajúcich svoj najnovší biznis plán na novú kaviareň s tou najkvalitnejšou talianskou kávou, alebo o našom bookclube, ktorý si zase raz pokecal o "knihe".
...more
Graham P
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How can one not have a literary crush on Maeve Brennan? She is the ultimate interloper, a stylish seemingly-demure writer with an acidic wit and an evocative sense of the melancholic. Every entry in this compilation of her New Yorker writings is quite lonesome...it is her perspective within the Manhattan labyrinth, a perspective both scientific and strangely sympathetic -- the man waiting for his date who isn't going to show up, the broken women at the bar looking at her reflection in the mirror ...more
Allan
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a collection gifted to me by a Goodreads friend due to my interest in all things related to NYC, and one that I'd never heard of before. Indeed, despite her long standing column in the New Yorker, I'd never heard of the Irish columnist either.

Gathering many of the columnist's New Yorker pieces together in a period mainly encompassing the 960s, the anthology paints a picture of New York in transition, where particularly in midtown Manhattan, many of the sights familiar and much loved to
...more
Siria
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, essays
A charming and bitter-sweet set of essays, The Long-Winded Lady brings together dozens of Irish-born Maeve Brennan's contributions to The New Yorker. Mostly written during the 1950s and 1960s, they are vignettes of a long-vanished city in transition, as brownstone houses and small businesses were sacrificed to what Brennan terms "the God of Office Space." Maeve Brennan's voice is crisp and cool—you learn very little of her life outside the moments of observation captured here—though with an occa ...more
Nancy
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
#ReadIreland18

Tired of Brennan’s over explanationher ‘tell instead of show’ writing.
She uses her walks through NYC as a foundation
for many of her vignettes.
How many times is too much?
Words just blur on the page = Avenue 175 x and Street 386 x.
These impressions of NYC life are unimaginative.
I read 25 of 55 stories....then I pulled the plug on Maeve Brennan.
#DNF
Martin
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Long-Winded Lady was the pen name, ironic in the old New Yorker style, of Maeve Brennan, who wrote these pieces for The Talk of the Town when the pieces there were unsigned. She lived in hotels, mostly around Times Square and the Village, from the 1950s to the 1980s, and her sketches were observations of people and incidents around Manhattan in the days when JFK Airport was Idlewild, Fifth Avenue had recently gone one-way, and shops and restaurants around Sixth Avenue in midtown were being d ...more
Sarah
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love Maeve Brennan's writing. Her observations are dead-on, sometimes witty, sometimes poignant. I added quite a few words to my vocabulary during the course of these essays. She uses some big words, but without being pretentious. It was fascinating to get a glimpse of NYC through the eyes of a sharp observer who was writing so many years ago. Edifying and enjoyable.
Ynna
Dec 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Basically if you put into words people watching in New York City. Some of the essays (?) were boring and seemed pretty pointless, but several had great gems about the magical place that is New York. This book made me want to visit and miss the city and I always consider that a success.
Oto
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
New York, reštiky a príhody z ulíc napísané v 50. a 60. rokoch. Super :)
Rob Atkinson
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great documentary pieces recording life in New York chiefly from the late 1950s through 1970 by a highly original and clever writer for the New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” section. Occasionally rather matter-of-fact if always colorfully presented, but at its best (and often) offering rare insight and/or an ironic twist ending to her quotidian stories. A great read for those like myself who love vivid depictions of New York’s past a la Joseph Mitchell, or the urban experience as it is and was liv ...more
Rebecca
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This collection of notes form The New Yorker made me miss living in New York. Brennan provides snapshots of New York neighborhoods, people, and restaurants. If you lived in the city or would like to, this is a good collection for you.
Amanda
Jun 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shortstories
In my more reflective moments, living in New York City feels like my own version of Maeve Brennan's life. 'Observant' doesn't even cover it: Maeve looks at the world with unending nuance, humor, and love. This will be a text I return to throughout my life.
H
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
It was interesting to read a couple of chapters. But as a book, it was just too many.
Alexandra
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
i actually had no idea who maeve brennan was until i read spinster: making a life of one's own by kate bolick. reading that prompted me to investigate maeve brennan further because she intrigued me. according to spinster, maeve went a little batty in her old age and basically lived at the new yorker even after she no longer had a job there? or else she was sort of transient and lived like a kind of bag lady. super sad, considering how intelligent she was.

her observations in these "long-winded l
...more
Stefan Bachmann
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know what it is about Brennan’s writing that speaks to me so much. I’ve foisted her short story collection on a few people now, and they’ve liked it a lot, but they weren’t like “AH! I MUST BUY ALL OF HER BOOKS TODAY, RIGHT NOW” aka my reaction.

This book is a collection of Brennan’s columns for The New Yorker: really regular snapshots of everyday life in NYC in 50’s and 60’s, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, usually ending with a not-at-all tacky insight into humanity as a whole that tie
...more
Ivka Straňáková
Na prebale knihy Príbehy z New Yorku sa píše, že niekedy pripomínajú maľby Edwarda Hoppera. Zachytávajú svetlo, ktoré dopadá na scénu pri stole v reštaurácii, hotelovej lobby či v metre a osvetľuje ju.
Chcela som napísať, že maľby vo mne nikdy nevyvolali pocity, aké vyvolala táto kniha. Ale potom som si vyhľadala práce Edwarda Hoppera a myslím, že to nemohlo byť napísané presnejšie. Obe nás totiž môžu preniesť na miesta, na ktorých sme predtým neboli. V dňoch a scénkach bežného života nám ukazuj
...more
Маrika Kosciuszko
Sep 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction-world
Neviem ci je problem vo mne, v preklade alebo v tom, ze som nikdy NY nenavstivila. Moj boj s touto knihou po sto a nieco stranach vzdavam. Mam pocit, ze sa neviem proste naladit na rovnaku vlnu s autorkou. Aj ked uz boli momenty, ze som mala pocit, ze sa zacinam do toho dostavat, po par vetach to zas vyprchalo. Mozno som ju len zacala citat v nevhodny cas, neviem...
Luann Thatcher
Short snippets of everyday life in New York City. Maeve Brennan captures the most common sites of lives and weaves you through change in the city. This is not a story that pulls you along to the finish as each snippet does not rely on the one before or after. However, it is pleasant enough to finish.
T P Kennedy
It's a pleasant enjoyable collection of brief essay and observations. These pieces are well written and often quite memorable. That said, it's a collection of articles written in a context that has now disappeared. This collection pales beside her stories and longer fiction.
Daniela Velgosová
Poviedky sú krátke, ale zato detailné a krásne napisané. Rýchlo vás vtiahnu do útrob najambicióznejšieho mesta sveta.
Ak radi čítate dobové knihy, s detailným opisom,táto kniha nesmie chýbať v knižnici.
LD
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-2-book
I like the simplicity of the mundane subjects of Maeve Brennan's New Yorker columns, but I think they would be much more enjoyable to an actual New Yorker.
Tali Nay
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Completely charming in its everyday mundane observations. A must read for everyone whose ever been a New Yorker.
Sergio Álvarez
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maravilloso. Me ha encantado la manera de ver las cosas de Maeve.
Becky
Nov 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Smart, but gets a bit, uh, long-winded at times. Likely best enjoyed reading one essay a week, as originally published in The New Yorker, but I was too impatient to pace myself.
Michael
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This collection of urban vignettes is an antidote to modernity. At her best, Brennan decelerates the blur and elicits the solace we seldom grasp on our own.
Menashe Israel
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The early New Yorker is night and day better than the latter day present New Yorker—full of petty non-sequitous political nonsense. Who still writes like this? Charming; wonderful.
Mckenzie Reeves
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous writing - lyric and visual

I loved reading this book, not only for inspiration as a writer, but as a tourist in a city I've never seen. Brennan brings the city to life not only as a place to be seen, but as a living and breathing organism with a definite personality and wild characters. This is one that will impact my work forever.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add page number 2 12 Dec 28, 2018 03:54PM  
  • Maeve Brennan: Homesick at The New Yorker
  • Just Enough Liebling: Classic Work by the Legendary New Yorker Writer
  • My Ears Are Bent
  • Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker
  • Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism
  • Talking to Women
  • About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made
  • A Walker in the City
  • Writing New York: A Literary Anthology
  • Gone to New York: Adventures in the City
  • Writings from The New Yorker 1927-1976
  • John Keats: A New Life
  • Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to the Present
  • Letters
  • The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice
  • Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion
  • The Best American Essays 2004
  • Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing
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Maeve Brennan (January 6, 1917–1993) was an Irish short story writer and journalist. She moved to the United States in 1934 when her father was appointed to the Irish Legation in Washington. She was an important figure in both Irish diaspora writing and in Irish writing itself. Collections of her articles, short stories, and a novella have been published.

(from Wikipedia)
“THERE are times when this city seems actually to disapprove of people. In gloomy moments, I think we are allowed to stay alive here but not to live, much less to enjoy ourselves or take pleasure in what we see when we look out of our windows or walk around our streets. If we have the fortitude to get up out of bed in the morning and get going to face the day, we should also have the freedom to rejoice, and I think the freedom to rejoice is being denied us when our senses are dulled at every turn by streets that are inimical when they are not simply sad.” 0 likes
“THERE are more parades in this city than any of us know about. There was one yesterday that went unwitnessed and unadmired except by two policemen and me, and it was a real parade, with marching men, all in line and all in step, and martial music.” 0 likes
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