“Of all the incomparable stable of journalists who wrote for The New Yorker during its glory days in the Fifties and Sixties,” writes The Independent, “the most distinctive was Irish-born Maeve Brennan.” From 1954 to 1981, Maeve Brennan wrote for The New Yorker‘s “Talk of the Town” column under the pen name “The Long-Winded Lady.” Her unforgettable sketches–prose snapshots of life in small restaurants, cheap hotels, and crowded streets of Times Square and the Village–together form a timeless, bittersweet tribute to what she called the “most reckless, most ambitious, most confused, most comical, the saddest and coldest and most human of cities.”First published in 1969, The Long-Winded Lady is a celebration of one of The New Yorker’s finest writers at the height of her power. As contemporary culture revisits with new appreciation the pioneering female voices of the past century, Maeve Brennan remains a writer whose dazzling work continues to embolden a new generation.
The Long-Winded Lady
Notes from The New Yorker
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MAEVE BRENNAN left Ireland for America in 1934, when she was seventeen. In 1949 she went to work for The New Yorker, to which she contributed book reviews, fashion notes, memoirs, and short stories. Her last published work—a sketch for "The Talk of the Town"—appeared in 1981. After more than a decade of mental illness, she died, in 1993, at the age of seventy-six.
"Of all the incomparable stable of journalists who wrote for The New Yorker during its glory days in the Fifties and Sixties--AJ Leibling, Joseph Mitchell, Lillian Ross and John McPhee are all worth seeking out--the most distinctive was Irish-born Maeve Brennan. Her keen-eyed observation of the minutiae of New York life has been compared to Turgenev, but a closer parallel is Edward Hopper... Anyone familiar with New York will enjoy a transporting jolt of recognition from these pages. Looking back from our own time, when it seems that every column has to be loaded with hectoring opinion and egotistical preening, Brennan's stylish scrutiny of minor embarrassments and small pleasures is as welcome as a Dry Martini."—The Independent
"Every piece in this collection is as precise and as surprising as ["A Young Man with a Menu"; anyone who loves New York, The New Yorker, or Maeve Brennan will savor The Long-Winded Lady."—Alix Wilber
"[Brennan] has always been able to turn quite ordinary things into 'moments of recognition...The accomplishment is formidable--something few writers attempt without sounding precise, dull, or both."—Time
"Maeve had a quickness of wit, a sharp tongue, and the gift of style... Bitter, dazzling, talented, tenderhearted, intractable Maeve!"—Brendan Gill