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Publisher's Summary

New York City is not only The New Yorker magazine's place of origin and its sensibility's life blood, it is the heart of American literary culture. Wonderful Town, an anthology of superb short fiction by many of the magazine's most accomplished contributors, celebrates the 75-year marriage between a preeminent publication and its preeminent context with this collection.

Wonderful Town touches on some of the city's famous places and stops at some of its more obscure corners, but the real guidebook is to the hearts and the minds of those who populate the metropolis built by its pages. New York is every great and ordinary place. Each life in it, and each life in Wonderful Town, is the life of us all.

Brownstone, Renata Adler
The Whore of Mensa, Woody Allen
In Greenwich, There are Many Graveled Walks, Hortense Calisher
The Five-Forty-Eight, John Cheever
Another Marvelous Thing, Laurie Colwin
Midair, Frank Conroy
What It Was Like, Seeing Chris, Deborah Eisenberg
Baster, Jeffrey Eugenides
Partners, Veronica Geng
Carlyle Tries Polygamy, William Melvin Kelley
Poor Visitor, Jamaica Kincaid
Symbols and Signs, Vladimir Nabokov
Arrangement in Black and White, Dorothy Parker
The Cafeteria, Isaac Bashevis Singer
The Way We Live Now, Susan Sontag
Notes From a Bottle, James Stevenson
A Sentimental Journey, Peter Taylor
The Catbird Seat, James Thurber
The Evolution of Knowledge, Niccolo Tucci
The Second Tree From the Corner, E.B. White

©2000 The New Yorker magazine; (P)2000 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Wonderfully rich and textured." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
"An anthology that makes you remember why the magazine has long had a reputation for literary excellence." (Chicago Tribune)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Alison
  • New Hope, PA, USA
  • 09-08-04

Great stories and readers, but technically sloppy

There are some fantastic stories in this selection, and I really love the way they span the decades from the early 1940s to the present day. New York itself is peripheral to some stories but central to others. The stories are often poignant and sometimes funny. The readers are excellent.

One thing that really irked me about the selection, though, is that between stories there is no pause. As soon as the last word of a story is spoken, they are introducing the next one. It happens before I can grab my player and hit pause so that I can savor what I've just heard.

Also, although the book is divided into two parts, there are no electronic stops in between. If you lose your place, it's very hard to scroll through all of that stuff to find where you left off. This is a general criticism of I have of many Audible books, but in this one it's particularly bad because there are so many obivous places that pauses could have been inserted.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend this selection.

38 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Only mildly interesting ...

After almost every story, I had the same thought: why was this story even accepted for publication? The stories are, for the most part, about mildly interesting people in in mildly interesting situations. The story about the pregnant woman is a perfect example - woman is a few weeks from giving birth, woman has minor birthing complications in the hospital, baby is born fine, end of story. Nothing particularly gripping, nothing particularly insightful. So it goes, for the most part, with this entire collection.

9 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A wonderful assortment

Laugh. Cry. Love. You will be intrigued and uplifted by the collection of brilliant stories contained in this well curated and performed collection. A chocolate box.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderful stories from the NewYorker

Would you listen to Wonderful Town again? Why?

the stories are brilliantly crafted and so well read

What did you like best about this story?

the variety of story types

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

not applicable to a group of short stories

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

a range of emotions from joy to deep quiet reflection

Any additional comments?

I would have liked to have even more stories included in this recording

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • 11-01-15

Disappointing selection

Having been a follower of the New Yorker Fiction Podcast for a few years (early on I explored the archive so I've listened to the 100+ stories, many more than once) I turned to this anthology in the hope of feeding my habit.
I am perhaps a little premature in posting a review at this point when I am just over half way through but I have to say I'm very disappointed by this selection - mostly in the choices of story rather than the readers.
There are a couple of gems: the Woody Allen is clever and entertaining while the Nabokov, which I first heard in the fiction podcast, is stunning, worth the price of the download if it were not already available for free!
But most of these stories lack the ingredients of insight, imagination and mastery of language which make me a fan of the form. One, a tedious reminiscence about two twenty year old students visiting girls in New York, published in 1955, lasts 1 hour and 8 minutes and I would like that time back please.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful