Many of you who are interested in skyscrapers and big cities must have fantasized about living in the Big Apple at some point. I know I have, and actually still am, if it wasn’t for the extremely steep rents these days. Just being there really can recharge the battery.
Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York is exactly about what the title suggests. Inspired by a 1967 essay by Joan Didion with the eponymous title, 28 writers who once chose to move to New York City to become a writer, and who all found themselves moving away from the city at some point, have written a story about it.
The book confirms what we already know: very big cities can be expensive and exhaustive. As both humans and cities develop along the way, the both of you might not be developing along the same path, especially when there are husbands and kids involved.
Although the relation with New York City is sometimes considered as a love affair, breaking up rarely comes down to a dramatic event, but rather as a relief and an understanding that it is time to move on. The city helps to get certain desires out of your system, and helps to become what’s really in store for you. As such this book is not just about leaving, but also about arriving.
The topic, and especially the element of moving on, is very interesting. Through these 28 stories, you’ll get something of an understanding about what it takes to live in New York City on a dream, and what it takes to move away from it.
The contributors are quite a homogeneous cast. Being all female, typically a contributor moved to New York in her early 20’s with the ambition to become a professional writer, and now being in their 30’s reflect on this period. As a result, some of the stories have a repetitive character. Different angles would have been welcome.
Goodbye to all that is a not too complicated, enjoyable read. Typically a book you pick up to read a quick story or two when on the road.
Writers on Loving and Leaving New York
editor : Sari Botton
year : 2013
pages : 288
publisher : Seal Press