edith oliver’s copy of isherwood’s prater violet

we bought this during a snowstorm in late 2006.

NYC was new to us – at least as a resident so recently transplanted from the Other Coast.

it was a bitterly cold day. the snow piled high on the sidewalks as we shivered miserably in the first winter coat we had owned since leaving england a few years before.

and there it was – a beautiful first edition – of prater violet – by another migratory soul who found peace and solace and beauty in santa monica.

oh! said the lady at Argosy, that’s edith oliver’s personal copy

we didn’t dare show our innocence. It doesn’t go down well in NY. we rushed home to look her up.

edith oliver was the legendary theatre critic for the New Yorker under Shawn.

we just thought of her and went to dig out this book to share with you because we are reading “lucking out” by james wolcott (now VF film critic) and he mentions her.

btw, the best thing about spending a summer friday in NY doing splendid errands like buying review copies dropped off by critics at mercer books is that one becomes part of the local tapestry. we got stopped by tourists twice on our way back from reading in a thankfully air-cooled cafe and asked if we knew where greenwich village was?

that’s because, despite the heat, we were tip to toe in black, hair scraped back, barely a lick of mascara, big sunglasses, reading a paperback review copy while walking down the street.

yes. this is EXACTLY what we thought NY would be like when we were 8 years old, pushing 9.