The Mural at the Waverly Inn: A Portrait of Greenwich Village Bohemians

Edward Sorel, Author, Graydon Carter, Introduction by, Walter Bernard, Designed by , text by Dorothy Gallagher, intro. by Graydon Carter. Pantheon $15.95 (56p) ISBN 978-0-307-37731-9

The next best thing to securing reservations at the exclusive Waverly Inn in Manhattan's West Village might be owning this book of the Edward Sorel mural that presides over the establishment's dining room. Sorel, whose work appears regularly in the New Yorker , was commissioned by restaurant co-owner and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter to draw the artists and political dissidents who frequented the Village in its heyday. Each of the 43 personalities, in Sorel's characteristic witty and elegant style, is cropped out and accompanied by a quirky bio written by Gallagher (How I Came into My Inheritance ), which gives the book its spirit. Some are poignant. Truman Capote's entry concludes: “The sylph of a boy grew older, became bloated with drink and drugs. 'Life,' as he once said, 'is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.' ” Others, like Edward Albee's, are funny, and all are charmingly matter-of-fact. Perfect for anyone who loves both counter- and high culture, this collection memorializes the bohemian greats while humanizing them—no small feat. A foldout of the entire mural was not seen by PW . (Oct. 28)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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