At the Strangers’ Gate: Arrivals in New York

Adam Gopnik. Knopf, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4180-0
Gopnik (Paris to the Moon) moves masterfully between humorous, poignant minutiae of private experience and a macro view of New York City throughout the 1980s. Starting with his wide-eyed move to the city at the start of the decade, Gopnik makes readers feel like Manhattan insiders as he shares stories of how he and his wife moved through low-rent apartments and a parade of quirky jobs, friends, and experiences, culminating in his plum gig writing for the New Yorker. Gopnik is especially adept at writing about episodes both dynamic (a writer’s joy at seeing his words in print, or frantically helping a neighbor stop a damaging leak) and disappointing (the drudgery of being an art reference librarian) as he integrates into some of the Big Apple’s most famous cultural institutions. The Museum of Modern Art, the booming SoHo art scene, and book publishing all serve as sources of his wonder. No matter what the topic, however, whether it is married love, the meaning of physical space (he describes the city’s “basement flats that look out on an airshaft”), or the growing greed surrounding him, Gopnik’s greatest gift is his playful insight (“Tenderness toward one’s lost self is sentimental; tenderness toward one’s lost longings is just life”). (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/14/2017
Release date: 09/05/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-676-97828-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-50059-9
Audio Product - 978-1-4000-7574-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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