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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ferrets and the City
I've long loved Tama Janowitz' writing, especially her fiction but I couldn't resist her collection of essays called 'Area Code 212'. 212 is the New York telephone area code and thes essays are Janowitz' tribute to the city she loves. Subtitled 'New York Days, New York Nights', the book is a collection of nearly 80 essays and articles written by Janowitz over a period of...
Published on 29 Jan 2012 by boingboing

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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars V.Funny
A hilarious overview of Tama Janowitz's life in the Big Apple. She introduces us to extravert, funny and outrageous characters from her experiences. From travelling to China to adopt a baby then double dating with Andy Warhol we see how her hectic life revoloves around the way other people live their own lives. Swanky dinners and after-show parties are all in her stride,...
Published on 13 Nov 2002


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ferrets and the City, 29 Jan 2012
This review is from: Area Code 212 (Paperback)
I've long loved Tama Janowitz' writing, especially her fiction but I couldn't resist her collection of essays called 'Area Code 212'. 212 is the New York telephone area code and thes essays are Janowitz' tribute to the city she loves. Subtitled 'New York Days, New York Nights', the book is a collection of nearly 80 essays and articles written by Janowitz over a period of many years and published in a wide variety of different magazines and newspapers from Vogue to Modern Ferret. She even includes a speech she gave to a University graduation that made very little sense to anyone, herself included. The editing is sometimes a bit haphazard and a couple of the stories repeat themselves in slightly different ways - such as her account of going to China to adopt her daughter or the hobo on the street who accused her of having a 'bad hair life' rather than a bad hair day.

The articles range from the surreal (miscarrying in the toilets of the Museum of Modern Art whilst those around her thought she'd slashed her wrists in one of the cubicles) through to the ridiculous (her desperate attempts to illegally acquire a ferret - apparently outlawed in New York) to the shocking (watching the Twin Towers collapse from her rooftop).

Janowitz is funny, clever and a great writer. Essayists too often spend too much time trying to show how clever they are rather than focusing on the topic. She doesn't bother poncing around showing off - it's real 'warts and all' honesty. She even tells us about testing as a 'retard' on an IQ test. When you read her you feel like she's one of your close friends telling you about some bizarre little thing that happened that day - she's immensely approachable and then just when she's got you thinking she's a real Miss Ordinary she'll floor you with an account of being an extra in a ZZ Top video or, most amazingly, hanging out with Andy Warhol and being a core member of his 'Blind Date Club'. As the saying goes 'There's one thing the Queen Mother and I both hate, and that's a name-dropper' but in Janowitz's case you don't get the nauseous feeling of 'here we go again, look at all the great people she hangs out with' because in one breath she's writing affectionately about one of art's most well-known characters and the next she's off getting her face on the cover of Ferret Weekly or some such rodent publication or questioning the very existence and purpose of buffets.

Janowitz is just so blissfully ordinary - and that's what I love about her. She could be your sister, your best friend, the girl you admired in the year above you at school but she's actually lauded as one of the most significant contemporary US writers, spoken of in the same breath as the likes of Jay McInerney and the generally-rather-nasty Bret Easton Ellis and part of a now ageing Brat Pack. She's a 'big time' literary name living a very small-time every-day life. OK, there are rather a lot of gala dinners (hence her hatred of buffets) but there's little glamour in her domestic arrangements. Let's face it, the lady married an Englishman and she likes snappy little hairless dogs - now that's not glamorous, is it?

Janowitz loves her city, loves her family, loves her small ratty dogs and bizarre ferrets, but mostly I get the sense that she loves life. These essays are like a giant box of chocolates (if you'll forgive the Forrest Gump-ism). You could sit down and scoff the lot in one go or dip in and out as the fancy takes you and eke them out as precious little treats. There are a couple of the nasty soft-centres or Turkish delight that you might not want to palm off on granny who's having problems with her 'plate' but most of these chocs are ones you'll want to savour and enjoy.
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars V.Funny, 13 Nov 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Area Code 212 (Paperback)
A hilarious overview of Tama Janowitz's life in the Big Apple. She introduces us to extravert, funny and outrageous characters from her experiences. From travelling to China to adopt a baby then double dating with Andy Warhol we see how her hectic life revoloves around the way other people live their own lives. Swanky dinners and after-show parties are all in her stride, but she feels that somehow she does not quite fit in due to her 'individual' fashion sense.
Definatly a book that you will not be able to put down. 10/10.
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Area Code 212
Area Code 212 by Tama Janowitz (Paperback - 8 July 2002)
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