“No matter how long you have been here, you are a New Yorker the first time you say, That used to be Munsey’s, or That used used to be the Tic Toc Lounge. You start building your private New York the first time you lay eyes on it.” – Colson Whitehead.
Yesterday morning the probably friendliest postman in Norwalk brought our mail and I received this book sent by my husband. I would say a nice start of the day. I fished the book yesterday. Yes, I am reading quite a lot and I am usually up way too late because I take advantage of my son’s sleeping rhythm these days. Last evening I took my son to bed, put some comfortable clothes on, made myself a cup of tea and curled up on the couch. Is there anything better? Not much 🙂 Let’s dive into the book review while it is still so fresh on my mind.
If you love New York and think that this crazy, hectic life mixed with a lot of dirt and smelly streets and the occasional homeless person this book is for you. I have never read anything by Colson Whitehead before but I love how strong his writing is and how this book is somewhat a love letter to New York City. Whitehead takes you from “City Limits” all the way to “JFK” with a total of 13 essays or short stories. You walk with him through “Central Park” after surviving the “Subway” ride when the “Rain” starts to pour down and washes the streets of New York clean. Not all of his stories are directly about New York – more about living (or surviving) in the Big Apple.
“It stops. From the river you can see the clouds haunch over adjacent boroughs. What transpired is a problem of sewers now, out of sight and out of mind. Snapping the umbrella open and closed as if it will scare the water off.[…] They walk out of the movie theater and say to teacher other, Did it rain, pointing at puddles. Yes, they are sure of it, something happened and they missed it.”
Once experienced, you will always remember the umbrella-war walking through the streets of New York when it rains. It all does not matter because it makes me want to go back there and do it all over again by just reading the essay “Rain”. I think Whitehead writes in a real clever language that was at first a bit difficult for me to understand I have to admit. Sometimes his writing seems like a long poem of some sort. He has this great skill with language that makes you just want to read more and more by him to appreciate his sharp observations.
The book is short and sweet (158 pages) and at points I felt like I just spent a weekend in New York walking around and taking it all in again. His style of writing is as fast-paced as New York is so get ready to read some sentences twice or three times. Simply a wonderful read that makes you want to go back to New York City.
I am fortunate that this city of yellow cabs is just a short car or train ride away. 🙂 So my son and I will explore this city that never sleeps together while walking and walking and trying and see some of it through Colson Whitehead’s eyes for just a New York- minute or two.
Enjoy! Let me know your thoughts if you pick up the book!