The New Yorkers
By Cathleen Schine
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374221836, 304pp.)
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
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An enchanting comedy of manners (with dogs!) from one of our most treasured writers Cathleen Schine’s brilliantly funny new novel revolves around one city block in Manhattan, a quiet little block near Central Park kept humble by rent control. Living on a street like this in New York with a dog is like living in a tiny village, one that has a rhythm all its own. Dogs bring people together unexpectedly, people who would otherwise never meet. And the dogs act as cupids for the quiet, struggling, sometimes lonely, eccentric people, the old and the young, male and female; the people who live on the block, who are, in their ways, romantics, as all New Yorkers secretly tend to be. Walking her dog, Beatrice, Jody falls under the spell of Everett’s bewitching smile. Everett begins to appreciate his postdivorce life only when he falls in love with Howdy, Polly’s puppy. Polly lives with her brother, George, and wants him to fall in love. George isn’t so much looking for a love life as for life direction, and Howdy leads him right to it. Doris hates the trash on her block, she hates the pee on her SUV’s large tires, and, above all, she hates dogs. That is, until she gets one of her own. In The New Yorkers, as in life, canine companions compel their masters to go outside of themselves, to take part in the community they live in, to make friends, and, sometimes, to fall in love. And Schine returns to what she does best: crafting a compulsively readable, elegantly written novel that seduces in the way we were once seduced by The Love Letter, Schine’s beloved classic.
Cathleen Schine is the author of The Love Letter and Rameau’s Niece, among other novels. She has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review.