“Groth provides sharp and very personal insight into some of the greatest writers of the last century, as well as a fascinating look inside the magazine that has shaped American culture like no other … [A] lovely, moving, and utterly engrossing book.” –Joanna Smith Rakoff, author of A Fortunate Age
In 1957, when a young Midwestern woman landed a job at The New Yorker, she didn’t expect to stay long at the reception desk. But stay she did, and for twenty-one years she had the best seat in the house.
In addition to taking messages, she ran interference for jealous wives checking on adulterous husbands, drank with famous writers at famous watering holes throughout bohemian Greenwich Village, and was seduced, two-timed, and proposed to by a few of the magazine’s eccentric luminaries.
This memoir of a particular time and place is an enchanting tale of a woman in search of herself.
“Written in lean, graceful prose that offers ample evidence of [Groth's] talent, the book is as much a window into the mythologized publication as it is a chronicle of one woman’s self-discovery.” –The New York Times
“[A] graceful memoir … It’s not her sexual saga but her evocation of the Mad Men working environment that makes Groth’s memoir interesting. The Receptionist vividly depicts a largely vanished Manhattan in which Ritz Crackers were the foundation of hors d’oeuvres, martinis were the mainstay of lunches, and pliable, overqualified women were stuck in lowly jobs forever.” –The Washington Post
“Are you a New Yorker magazine groupie? Do you wait every week just to laugh at the cartoons and read Talk of the Town? If so, we have a book for you … The magazine’s eccentricity was not lost on Groth. Lucky for us.” –USA Today
“A literate, revelatory examination of self.” –The Boston Globe
Janet Groth, Emeritus Professor of English at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, has also taught at Vassar, Brooklyn College, the University of Cincinnati, and Columbia. She was a Fulbright lecturer in Norway and a visiting fellow at Yale and is the author of Edmund Wilson: A Critic for Our Time (for which she won the NEMLA Book Award) and coauthor of Critic in Love: A Romantic Biography of Edmund Wilson. She lives in New York City.
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