Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Only in New York by Lily Brett

I have decided that I really enjoy the writing of Lily Brett. She is an Australian who grew up in Melbourne.  Her parents were Jewish and they both lost most of their family in the death camps of World War II.  She has written extensively of how that influenced her own upbringing  in several of her books.

She has lived in New York city now for quite some time, over 25 years. I enjoyed her last book Lola Bensky, a fictional account of her experiences as a journalist in 1960's Britain.

This book, Only in New York is a book of vignettes of her time in New York city.  Lily loves to walk and spends a great deal of time walking to various places in New York. She writes of daily life in New York. Her trips to the hairdresser, to a large cemetery in Queens, her thoughts of daily life.  She has an extensively great sense of humour and this humour comes through in almost everything she does.

She talks about being Jewish and some of the quirkiness she feels is the result of this.  I laughed out loud at some of her experiences. When I finished this book I wished it was another 100 pages longer.

She mentions many places in New York that she visits. The deli she goes to, her favourite cafe, visits with her father who is still alive and her relationship with him.  Interwoven throughout the whole book is the experiences of what it is like having been a child of death camp survivors and the personalities that she children inherit as a result of such trauma of the parents.

She includes a visit to Melbourne and discusses her visit to her old neighbourhood and going through her home again.

I loved this book.  I loved being in New York with her. I think it was one of the most realistic books of life in the big city I have ever read.  You could visit the city, read this book and tick off the places she talks about.  It is almost like a travel guide without being a travel guide.  It gave me a real feeling for how it is to live in this wonderful, diverse city.  I can certainly recommend this book.
Lily Brett

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