I swear, the character Eleanor in Slaves of New York must be somewhat autobiographical. “Literary Brat Pack” author Tama Janowitz crafted her with such precision, her inner thoughts feel so incredibly authentic, that I can't imagine it came from any place else. It's a pleasure to journey with her through her time of severe insecurity, which is a rare thing to find pleasurable.
She's a sometimes jewelry-maker in a nowhere relationship with a controlling emerging artist boyfriend with emerging artist friends, and emerging artist parties to attend. It's NYC int the mid '80s and, while the book does show its age at times, it feels oddly familiar…
I recently went home with a sick tummy and saw my neighborhood on a workday afternoon. It was much the same but very, very different: different crazies were on the streets, different sounds surrounded me, different smells too. That's kind of what reading this book was like, lots of things I could relate to, if not personally, then through other people I've met and known, but everything was just different then.
The book made quite a splash when it was released and Janowitz was catapulted to fame. There's even a Merchant-Ivory movie that stars Bernadette Peters. Quirky stories about eccentric characters, (including a delusional artiste named Marley who believes, in an artiste way that he is a saint but is actually a deplorable person) make up this semi-related short story collection; the language is deadpan and witty, this is a super fun book that I'm sure you'll enjoy.