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The Resource Lillian Boxfish takes a walk : a novel, Kathleen Rooney

Lillian Boxfish takes a walk : a novel, Kathleen Rooney

Label
Lillian Boxfish takes a walk : a novel
Title
Lillian Boxfish takes a walk
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Kathleen Rooney
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"In my reckless and undiscouraged youth," Lillian Boxfish writes, "I worked in a walnut-paneled office thirteen floors above West Thirty-Fifth Street ..." She took 1930s New York by storm, working her way up writing copy for R.H. Macy's to become the highest paid advertising woman in the country. It was a job that, she says, "in some ways saved my life, and in other ways ruined it." Now it's the last night of 1984 and Lillian, 85 years old but just as sharp and savvy as ever, is on her way to a party. It's chilly enough out for her mink coat and Manhattan is grittier now--her son keeps warning her about a subway vigilante on the prowl--but the quick-tongued poetess has never been one to scare easily. On a walk that takes her over 10 miles around the city, she meets bartenders, bodega clerks, security guards, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be, while reviewing a life of excitement and adversity, passion and heartbreak, illuminating all the ways New York has changed--and has not. A love letter to city life in all its guts and grandeur, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop. Lillian figures she might as well take her time. For now, after all, the night is still young"--
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
Loan Stars Favourites, 2017
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Inspired by Margaret Fishback, poet and Macy’s ad-writing phenom of the 1930s, Rooney imagines an extraordinary walk through the streets of New York City on the last night of 1984, one that triggers a flood of memories for fictional ad woman Lillian Boxfish. The octogenarian muses on the changing urban landscape as she stops at favorite haunts: an intimate neighborhood bar that’s just installed a TV, a restaurant where she’s dined every New Year’s Eve that’s about to change owners, the famed Delmonico’s, where she ended her marriage. Further stops include a changing lower Manhattan landscape where she meets a haunted Vietnam veteran and engages him in a “best last-line contest,” a detour to a hospital emergency room with a frightened woman about to have her first baby, and a party where she’s both scorned and adored by a new generation of artists, followed by a hilarious encounter with three muggers. Meanwhile, Lillian carefully recounts her celebrated career in advertising, her adored husband and son, and her emotional breakdown. Elegantly written, Rooney creates a glorious paean to a distant literary life and time—and an unabashed celebration of human connections that bridge the past and future. Agent: Lisa Bankoff, ICM Partners. (Jan.) --Staff (Reviewed 10/17/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 42, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ It's New Year's Eve 1984 and indomitable octogenarian Lillian Boxfish has places to go. Manhattan is her playground, and she's not going to let a subway vigilante or the winter chill keep her indoors. Outfitted in her beloved mink coat, which she bought for herself in 1942, Lillian briskly sets off from her Murray Hill apartment, reminiscing about her illustrious career as the highest-paid woman in advertising, her first love, Max, and her darling son, Gian. She joins a family of strangers at Delmonico's for dinner, charms a Filipino convenience store clerk, smartly tells off a boor at a trendy loft party, and unflappably transforms a mugging into a business transaction. Lillian's needle-sharp observations are astute and her unceasing love for New York City shines through. Her life has not always been breezy, but she keeps putting one fashionable foot in front of the other. VERDICT Rooney (O, Democracy!) takes us on a delightful stroll with a colorful character, inspired by the life of poet and ad woman Margaret Fishback, sprinkling just the right details and arch bons mots appropriate to Lillian's reputation as a woman of words. [See Prepub Alert, 8/1/16; Editors' Fall Picks 2016, LJ 9/1/16.] --Christine Perkins (Reviewed 12/01/2016) (Library Journal, vol 141, issue 20, p89)
  • A poet and writer of clever, innovative ad copy, Margaret Fishback was admired in her time—the pre–Mad Men era—but is mostly forgotten now. Rooney (O, Democracy!, 2014, etc.) has written a lively, fictionalized version of Fishback’s story, drawing on real milestones but imagining her subject’s inner life.Rooney’s Lillian Boxfish comes to Manhattan in 1926 to make her mark. A smart, stylish, independent young woman, she lands a job at R.H. Macy’s, where she turns out witty rhymes that promote the department store; on her own, she writes light verse, eventually published in several volumes. Though a self-styled “scoffer at love,” Lillian falls hard for Max Caputo, the head rug buyer at Macy’s. They marry, but when she becomes pregnant with their son, Johnny, she's forced to quit her job—maternity leave being a thing of the future. The marriage eventually fractures, and Lillian suffers a mental breakdown. Intercut with this narrative is the more fanciful story of Lillian’s adventures on New Year’s Eve 1984. An old woman now, she roams the streets of Manhattan alone, passing landmarks public as well as private and befriending several New York characters (all too benevolent to be believed) along the way. The city is in decline—the Subway Vigilante is on the loose—which Lillian seems to equate with her own fall from grace. But the chance encounters lift her spirits, helping her come to terms with her past. While the book effectively underscores the fierce struggles of career women like Lillian in a pre-feminist time, it can also feel schematic. And Lillian’s dialogue is sometimes too arch, too written, to be credible. There is plenty of charm and occasional poignance here even if the novel makes you long for a proper biography of the real woman who inspired it.(Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2016)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10541411
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1980-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Rooney, Kathleen
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • City and town life
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Older women
  • Reminiscing
  • FICTION
  • FICTION
  • City and town life
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Older women
  • Reminiscing
  • New York (State)
Label
Lillian Boxfish takes a walk : a novel, Kathleen Rooney
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1716282
Edition
First edition.
Extent
pages
Isbn
9781250113320
Lccn
2016036418
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781250113320
  • (OCoLC)947146232
Label
Lillian Boxfish takes a walk : a novel, Kathleen Rooney
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1716282
Edition
First edition.
Extent
pages
Isbn
9781250113320
Lccn
2016036418
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781250113320
  • (OCoLC)947146232

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
    • North Village BranchBorrow it
      2505 Steck Ave, Austin, TX, 78757, US
      30.362144 -97.7305032
    • Ruiz BranchBorrow it
      1600 Grove Blvd., Austin, TX, 78741, US
      30.2298616 -97.7070109
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