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Nest of Ninnies, A (American Literature (Dalkey Archive)) (American Literature Series) Paperback – 1 Jan 2009
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"Destined to become a minor classic." -- W. H. Auden
"The best comic novel I've read since Lolita." -- F. W. Dupree
"As a comedy of American manners, there is very little, if anything, to compare with A Nest of Ninnies, and it remains as strong and as clever and as funny today as when it was first published in 1969." -- Brian Evenson
"Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about A Nest of Ninnies is that the two poets have dissolved their own personalities and merged so entirely into a common style that it can be said that the book's author is neither Ashbery nor Schuyler but a third entity fashioned in the process of collaboration." -- David Lehman
From the Back Cover
The denizens of Kelton, New York - a bedroom community some fifty miles from Manhattan - are a well-heeled bunch who spend an awful lot of time playing rummy. There is Alice, an unfulfilled cellist, and her complacent brother Marshall, who doesn't like his friends to confide in him. There are the bumbling and overindulged Fabia and Victor, another sibling duo, and their friend Irving, a meek mama's boy. Into their cloistered lives come Claire and Nadia Tosti, two sisters from Paris, whose take-charge tactics stir the winds of enterprise, romance, and change. Through them, Alice is led to a swarthy Italian who helps her orchestrate a successful restaurant business. Irving pairs up with Claire, finally winning freedom from his eccentric, cat-loving mother. Victor embraces Nadia and the antiques trade, while Fabia discovers a potential romance with Victor's French pen pal. Only Marshall finds himself eluded by love, a predicament that will lead him from the snug environs of Kelton to the crude energies of the Midwest. In bistros, galleries, bars, and theaters, the protagonists eat, drink, criticize each other, and debate the worlds of art, music, literature, life, and love.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 4 reviews
on 8 May 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Everything as said, excellent novel, "(destined to be) a minor classic" as said by WH Auden on the back of the book.
3 people found this helpful.
Uncle Albert Says: abandon yourself to the pleasures of farce
on 26 June 2010 - Published on Amazon.com
If you love farce from Faydeau through Wodehouse through Joe Keenan (Blue Heaven, Putting on the Ritz, and the first few years of Frasier) you'll love this book. If you don't, please don't read it. I picked it up because it's by two of the '50s era New York School poets, Ashbery and Schuyler. I happen to enjoy that school of poetry, even more than I love their contemporary West Coast poets like Ginsberg, Corso, and company (and I love those too). This is the sort of delightful ego exercise on the part of the author(s) where you turn the key and let the author do the driving--at any speed he wishes. In the end, none of the characters are important, no great moral lessons are learned, what happens and where it happens are more decorative than narrative or metaphorical. You have drinks with a friend and during the course of the evening, the friend tells you this long involved story that is fascinating because he's your friend. And when the evening ends and you both go your separate ways, it was a great evening for no reason more complicated than you spent it with a great friend, who can tell some whopping good stories. Dump all that earnest book-reading you picked up in school and church and let yourself go; read this book and others like it (see Faydeau, Wodehouse, Keenan and company) as one of the top five pleasures of life. You've already abandoned yourself to numbers one and two and survived, right?
3 people found this helpful.
Honey I wrote a novel
on 26 December 2008 - Published on Amazon.com
This novel doesn't exactly break the sound barrier -- Auden went a little overboard in calling it a minor classic -- but is "likable enough," like Hillary Clinton, and has the unpredictability of the game it started as. Ashbery and Schuyler wrote it one sentence at a time: A. started with "Alice was tired," and it blossomed, to the extent that it did, from there. The first third is fairly choppy as a result; however, as the novel progresses it settles into its narrative arc, and the closing scenes are excellent conventional farce. (A plot summary would be inappropriate: one of the pleasures of this book is figuring out where it's trying to go.) The writing is spirited and sporadically brilliant -- both authors won Pulitzers in poetry -- but not very interesting as prose. On the whole, this book is recommended for Ashbery or Schuyler fans, connoisseurs of camp, and those with an interest in how novels are constructed. Others might find it self-indulgent.
12 people found this helpful.
a good romp
on 26 May 2000 - Published on Amazon.com
Who would think that two experimental poets could write a comic novel without stylistic pretensions? There's nothing profound here, just a quick read with plenty of laughs. The title conveys the substance fairly well: Schuyler and Ashbery have created a cast of middle- to upper-class fools for whom they have little respect. This could, of course, be fairly tiresome ("aren't the bourgeosie so silly!"), if it weren't for the authors' keen sense of humor. Think of this as a detailed pitch for a good Woody Allen movie, or a Firbank novel for the mid-twentieth century.
5 people found this helpful.
Auden was right
on 17 April 2007 - Published on Amazon.com
This book deserves to be recognized as the "minor classic" W. H. Auden thought it was destined to become. The high camp of much of the proceedings only makes the book more profound in its investigation of the contemporary manners of negotiating affect through objects. In this it looks back to Wilde and Henry James, as it does also in its arch staging of the objectification of a mystified "Europe." Entirely fascinating, urbanely hilarious.