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Manhattan, when I was young af Mary Cantwell
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Manhattan, when I was young (original 1995; udgave 1995)

af Mary Cantwell

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2146129,023 (3.76)22
Mary Cantwell arrived in Manhattan one summer in the early 1950s with $80, a portable typewriter, a wardrobe of unsuitable clothes, a copy of The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, a boyfriend she was worried might be involved with the Communists and no idea how to live on her own. She moved to the Village because she had heard of it and worked at Mademoiselle because that was where the employment agency sent her. In this evocative unflinching book Cantwell recalls the city she knew then by revisiting five apartments in which she lived. Her memoir vividly recreates both a particular Golden Era in New York and the sometimes painful, sometimes exhilarating process of forging a self.… (mere)
Medlem:DianeVallere
Titel:Manhattan, when I was young
Forfattere:Mary Cantwell
Info:Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 1995.
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek, Læser for øjeblikket
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Nøgleord:Ingen

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Manhattan, when I Was Young af Mary Cantwell (1995)

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A truly lovely read as the NY magazine editor takes us through her list of homes...and her evolving life.. her first flat share with a girlfriend after college (first job; tight funds...but aspirations; first love) ...her first marital home (kitting out a grown up home; career success; travel) ...and on....
Over her life was a sense of loss at her father's early death. Depression....two children...meeting Big Names...and the gradual failing of a marriage. The magic of New York, which is ever present..the awareness of the gulf between a working mother and her children, living so much of their lives under the care of othes..
Just beautiful. Resounds with me, looking bac,k age 60, on early "married life" where we thought we knew it all...
Googled the characters when I finished (they become so real) and sad to see not only are both parents deceased but also the younger daughter....
Just a lovely read ( )
  starbox | Nov 26, 2021 |
Not my favorite memoir. One perspective, tightly focused, told with little passion. ( )
  JoniMFisher | Sep 19, 2019 |
I don't remember what led me to this, but it was a perfect fit for the reading window I had today. It's a little self-indulgent, but deliciously name-droppy. There's some fine, therapy-earned insights into her failing relationship with her husband, but I was less interested in the build-up to divorce than I was in the gorgeous descriptions of Greenwich Village in the 50s and 60s and the insider view of the magazine business back then. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
Mary is a strange one. But her love of New York and the Village kept me going. How lucky to be in NYC in the 60s. ( )
  mahallett | Dec 10, 2017 |
This book first caught my eye in a charity shop. I’d never heard of Mary Cantwell, but I thought the title was evocative. Closer inspection revealed it to be not a novel but a memoir, but it began with a pleasing reference to The Bell Jar, my favourite book. Since I was trying to be “good” about book-buying at the time, I left it on the shelf, only to regret it soon afterwards. When I returned to the shop a few days later, it had gone and I ended up putting it on my Amazon wishlist for my husband to buy.

I did some research on the Internet and discovered that Mary Cantwell had been a writer for The New York Times, after spending much of her career working at the now defunct magazine Mademoiselle, a period covered in this memoir, and that she’d died in 2000, at the relatively young age of 69, just five years after this memoir was published. It’s not necessary to know any of that to enjoy this account of a young woman beginning her career and adult life in New York City in the early 1950s.

The memoir is divided into sections corresponding to each of the addresses at which Cantwell resided during the twenty or so years covered here, and Cantwell’s love of Manhattan, in particular Greenwich Village, shines throughout. Although I would count New York as one of my favourite cities, I have visited it just once, seven years ago, spending only an afternoon in Greenwich Village. Nevertheless, with my dim memories of that holiday and just a little assistance from Google Maps, Cantwell’s vivid descriptions put me right there with her. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know the shops, bars or restaurants she refers to. As someone who grew up in a provincial town and who still can’t quite believe she’s living in London, I was able to share in Cantwell’s exhilaration and identify with the feeling that, by living somewhere else, it is possible to become a different person.

One of my favourite paragraphs from the book is this:

"Maybe it’s different if you were born here. Maybe then you are deaf to the buzzing and the beating of wings. But I had come from out of town, and to me New York was a hive. You could not just live here. You had to be somebody, do something, it didn’t matter what. You were not a part of the city unless you were on a bus or a subway and on your way to an office or a factory or a schoolroom. How could you know New York if you had not bolted your lunch in a coffee shop or had not had your subway stall under the East River or had not had to stand on the bus for thirty blocks because it was rush hour? You could not. The best way to know New York, to learn to love New York was to let it wear you out."

This is also an intensely personal memoir. As a young woman, Cantwell is unable to accept the death of her father and continues to worry about whether she is living up to his expectations. Lacking self-confidence, she looks to her husband for guidance, believing she would be nothing without him, while resenting the fact that she has never really been allowed to be herself or to be by herself. Cantwell unflinchingly lays bare her younger self, managing to write in a way that is both moving and drily amusing.

So there we have it: if you’re in a second-hand bookshop and come across an unfamiliar title that somehow speaks to you, you should probably buy it. It just may turn out to be an unexpected gem.
4 stem Rebeki | Jan 31, 2014 |
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"It was a queer, sultry summer the summer they electrocuded the Rosenbergs. ..." That's how Sylvia Plath started The Bell Jar and how I wanted to start this. Because that's the way I remember my first summer in New York, too.
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Mary Cantwell arrived in Manhattan one summer in the early 1950s with $80, a portable typewriter, a wardrobe of unsuitable clothes, a copy of The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, a boyfriend she was worried might be involved with the Communists and no idea how to live on her own. She moved to the Village because she had heard of it and worked at Mademoiselle because that was where the employment agency sent her. In this evocative unflinching book Cantwell recalls the city she knew then by revisiting five apartments in which she lived. Her memoir vividly recreates both a particular Golden Era in New York and the sometimes painful, sometimes exhilarating process of forging a self.

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