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La mujer singular y la ciudad

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  2,640 ratings  ·  368 reviews
Continuación natural de Apegos feroces, en La mujer singular y la ciudad Vivian Gornick sigue mostrándose como una mujer lúcida, sensible e insobornable que, siendo la realidad como es, no acepta su lugar en el mundo.

La mujer singular y la ciudad es un mapa fascinante y emotivo de los ritmos, los encuentros fortuitos y las amistades siempre cambiantes que conforman la vida
Paperback, 148 pages
Published 2018 by Editorial Sexto Piso (first published May 19th 2015)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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The Odd Woman and the City: A Memoir by Vivian Gornick is a beautiful book. I was hoping to love it- I loved Gornick's memoir, Fierce Attachments: A Memoir so I knew I loved Gornick's writing style and her sensibility.

The book did not let me down!

The book combines many of my favorite themes: New York City, the idea of the flaneur, a woman negotiating life alone in New York City, how people negotiate relationships (of various kinds), and (indirectly) growing older. Gornick is my role model.

The b
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: Anne Reach
Like Charles Dickens with London, Gornick walks the streets of New York City and knows them intimately. She walks for the same reasons I believe Dickens did: to ward off restlessness and depression; and to immerse herself in the characters she encounters, because hearing their voices, their “expressiveness” as she calls it (a word which recalls for me Dos Passos’ Manhattan Transfer) is like breathing.

It’s written as “a series of vignettes,” as Anne's review says, which can tell you more about t
Kate Koza
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The habit of loneliness persists. Leonard tells me that if I don't convert the loneliness into useful solitude, I'll be my mother's daughter forever. He is right, of course. One is lonely for the absent idealized other, but in useful solitude I am there, keeping myself imaginative company, breathing life into the silence, filling the room with proof of my own sentient being.


'Of all the thoughts which rushed upon my savage and undeveloped little brain in this crisis,' Gosse writes, 'the most
♥ Sandi ❣
2.5 stars

Not a book that I would recommend. I was disappointed - thoroughly.

So many, many characters it was dizzying. Absolutely no way to keep them all straight. And authors - she spoke of so many. And so many short clips - moving from topic to topic. She seemed to go from past to present and back to past within a sentence - it keeps your mind spinning. This is a short book as it is and the method it is written in makes it jumbled, in disarray, and mind boggling.

I don't profess to judge anyon
Steve Turtell
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My only real complaint is that I wish this was longer, as I get a sense that Gornick is winding down, nearing the end of her writing life (and of course she's more than entitled, as she's in her eighties). I gulped it down, just the way I gulp New York street life every time I take a walk in this still glorious, filthy, magical city, the city I was, as was Gornick, born in.

"It's the voices I can't do without. In most cities of the world the populace is planted in centuries of cobblestoned alley
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brief but brilliant book. What intelligence and what perceptiveness this woman has! Also, now I know what a flaneur is. I had thought it was possibly a fabrics retailer that sold flannel, not someone wandering around the city making observations.

This is an absorbing series of discontinuous narratives about the streets of Manhattan, with literary references so profound and in such abundance that that alone is an education by itself.

Read this by all means: hard coverly, Nookily, Kindly, libraril
Jun 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Before the book starts, there's an unexpected (for me) warning: All names and identifying characteristics have been changed. Certain events have been reordered and some characters and scenes have been composites.

In short, the title is false. It's a faux memoir. Or, to put it bluntly, fake. What's real and what's not real? Who knows?.

Based on a NYTimes review of the book, I thought it would be interesting because Ms. Gornick's life has a few similarities to mine. Leaving the Bronx for Manhattan
Scarlet Cameo
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was ok

This was a HUGE disappointment. Boring and all over the place, the only good thing was that I leanr about some writers that sounds awesome.
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
I liked this meditation on living in New York City. This is more of a journal than a sustained narrative and my favorites of Gornick's remain her more substantive memoir, Fierce Attachments, her feminist literary criticism of The End of the Novel of Love, and her essential guide to the art of the personal essay, The Situation and the Story. I noticed a undercurrent of black-and-white racial awareness in this book - isn't that new for her? (In addition to sexual politics, an abiding concern) One ...more
I find everything gornick writes incredibly stimulating. Her writing makes me see many connections happening all at the same time. Friendship, city life, family life, sickness, death, she goes through all of it. Her take on other writers is always wonderful, since she is a great reader of literature and of being human.
Found myself skimming a couple of times, but overall a good look at New York City from a native familiar with the "old" days.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It baffles me why Vivian Gornick isn't as well known as a writer as say, Joan Didion. I sit in wonder as she creates her world for the reader; yes, this is a memoir, but not in the traditional one may think of a memoir. I think I like her so much because she gives snippets of her life, weaving present day with the past. She walks the streets of New York with her friend, Leonard, ruminating on life, past and present.

And who writes sentences like these?! "He was in his sixties then, smaller and mu
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
4.5 stars.

I really enjoyed this one. I had the luxury of a quiet weekend morning to get stuck in, and this introspective read was the perfect accompaniment.

In this book, Vivian Gornick keeps a journal of sorts, detailing her lived experiences in the city of New York. She is an older woman, often pounding the city’s streets on her regular walks, listening to snippets of conversations, privy to peeks into the lives of her fellow city dwellers, making observations about a variety of things with suc
I wanted to love this book, I really did. So many people I value had said such good things about Gornick, shared lovely quotes and waxed lyrical on her writing. Maybe I was expecting too much, but this just wasn't as good as I wanted it to be.

There were kernels of glorious prose in here. I found the sections about other things - other lives, other books, whatever - to be mostly incredibly interesting and quite well-written. Everything about Gornick herself felt annoying though. Too much, too int
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
She has such a great voice—I loved Fierce Attachments and she is consistently, well...the same person. But this book was really disjointed and meandering.
'I know about this obscure 19th century English novelist, Alfred Puddington-Bingley, who once wrote a proto-modernist novel called Crosses and Noughts about an old London schoolteacher fond of taking long walks around the city and reminiscing on her failed marriage to an accountant and her resolution to never touch a human being again. I modeled my life on this character, which I knew at the time was a mistake. That's why I did it. Do I regret it? Of course. But I don't regret my regret, and the ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyc, 2019, bio-memoir
This is a thin book to be savored. It's not a traditional memoir, but a series of vignettes which move back and forth in time between the past, her childhood and early adulthood, and the present, now, as a single woman who has learned much about life and herself. There were so many excerpts about life on the streets of NYC which made me laugh out loud or smile in recognition. One of these took place on 14th Street where she ran into a friend and carried on a conversation despite the Con Ed drill ...more
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been meaning to read Vivian Gornick properly for years and this book turned up in an airport bookshop exactly when I needed it. I wanted something absorbing and meaningful and delightful, without being too ponderous or shallow. When I made the purchase, the woman serving me read the back and said 'wow, I like the sound of this'. Now that was a bit of a Gornick move including that small anecdote. She spins from the everyday and the enduring (namely long friendships and their sometimes myst ...more
Michael Livingston
A wonderful love letter to NYC, filled with glorious snippets of street life, ruminations on love and friendship and infused with Gornick's witty, smart and big-hearted sensibility.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, own
"We were in thrall to neurotic longing, all of us - Dorothea and Isabel, my mother and I, the fairy-tale princess. Longing was what attracted us, what compelled our deepest attention. The essence, indeed, of a Chekovian life. Think of all those Natashas sighing through three long acts for what is not, and can never be. While one (wrong) man after another listens sympathetically to the recital of a dilemma for which there is no solution" (55).
This is such a short book that it doesn't have the right - in my opinion - to be such a mixed bag?

On the one hand, the writing is very beautiful. Vivian Gornick has the clear, precise way of expressing hard of define feelings that I love in a writer. She also talks a lot, and in ways I could relate to, about wandering the city and using walking as a coping mechanism of sorts and I definitely appreciated to see parts of my experiences reflected in a book - it's always a delight!

However, the thin
Richard Gilbert
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This short memoir, really one long essay, is about friendship, especially in New York City, walking in the city, and encounters with strangers in the city. Vivian Gornick makes this compelling because her stories are so interesting, as is her brutally honest truth-speaking voice and her humor. She tells funny stories on herself.

And she is aware that, well, she's odd. The latter is literally a reference to her feminism—she takes the term from George Gissing about feminists of an earlier era—but i
Meditations on life, loneliness, friendships and connections, all through the lens of living and walking in the streets of New York City. Some of her passages resonated quite greatly with me, others less so, but it's an interesting portrait of growing older and moving through life as a (mostly) single woman, nonetheless surrounded every day by interactions and people that make up the city and in turn her longest, constant relationship.
Reixel Soy Yo
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
This book is somehow a portrait of NY city and its lifestyle, through Gornick's eyes. It's not exactly a story, but a compendium of anecdotes seen or experienced by the author, all of them told in the ironic style that characterizes Gornick.
What I love most of Gornick is the intelligence that dazzles in her words and her complex and unestable personality that make me think of her as an interesting person for having a talk.
Kylie Maslen
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I completely loved this book. I'm so thrilled to have welcomed Gornick's work into my life. Funny, biting and comforting all at once.
Laurence Leduc-Primeau
Livre, je pense, que je vais me mettre à aimer de plus en plus à mesure que le temps depuis la lecture passe - c'est un bon signe, c'est rare.

When human experience slides off the scale, and the end of civilization threatens, only hard truths will do; and I was finding them sealed into the minimalist prose of French and Italian novelists of the fifties and sixties. Here, an eerie inwardness trapped in the prose resonated inside a suffusing silence that promised moral disorder of a serious nature.
Andrew Sampson
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
vivian gornick, now there’s someone who has no trouble getting her 10,000 steps in every day
The Odd Woman and the City is a memoir in the form of a collection of vignettes, some of which are just a few sentences each, and others of which span several pages. Gornick writes about New York, about moving through the city alone or with friends, observing and overhearing, and she writes about books and writers, and she writes about herself, how she is and how she sees herself, and it's all smart and interesting and satisfying. She writes about friendship, how she and her friend Leonard get a ...more
Robert Miller
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A theme that runs through this book is that one does not truly live life while vested in a committed relationship, rather the meaningful growth happens during the transitory period between the meetings; the problem is, such a philosophy often leads to loneliness, as it apparently has in her case. She feels that New York City is the perfect place for quick encounters, quasi friendships, and short-lived lover affairs, because the city is bustling with every-changing characters, many with their own ...more

The self-image each of us projects to each other is the one we carry around in our heads: the one that makes us feel coherent. (pg.5)

Not my city at all. Mine is the city of the melancholy Brits—Dickens, Gissing, Johnson, especially Johnson—the one in which we are none of us going anywhere, we’re there already, we, the eternal groundlings who wander these mean and marvelous streets in search of a self reflected back in the eye of the stranger. (pg. 9)

As for us: never before in history has so
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Vivian Gornick is the author of, among other books, the acclaimed memoir Fierce Attachments and three essay collections: The End of the Novel of Love, Approaching Eye Level, and, most recently, The Men in My Life. She lives in New York City.

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“Everyone used to seem so grown up," I say. "Nobody does anymore. Look at us. Forty, fifty years ago we would have been our parents. Who are we now?" ...

"They passed," Leonard says, "that's all." Fifty years ago you entered a closet marked 'marriage.' In the closet was a double set of clothes, so stiff they could stand up by themselves. A woman stepped into a dress called 'wife' and the man stepped into a suit called 'husband.' And that was it. They disappeared inside the clothes. Today, we don't pass. We're standing here naked. That's all."

He strikes a match and holds it to his cigarette.

"I'm not the right person for this life," I say.

"Who is?" he says, exhaling in my direction.”
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