McSorley's Wonderful Saloon by Joseph Mitchell

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis


“Mitchell’s collection of portraits is the exact opposite of the books that choose an important subject, but are hastily written and have nothing much to say. These books, which form the bulk of current writing, always make you feel as if you had paid for looking into the wrong end of a telescope. Mitchell, on the other hand, likes to start with an unimportant hero, but he collects all the facts about him, arranges them to give the desired effects, and usually ends by describing the customs of a whole community. Commodore Dutch, the subject of one portrait, ‘is a brassy little man who has made a living for the last forty years by giving an annual ball for the benefit of himself.’ Mitchell doesn’t try to present him as anything more than a barroom scrounger; but in telling the story of his career, he also gives a picture of New York sporting life since the days of Big Tim Sullivan. The story called ‘King of the Gypsies’ is even better. It sets out to describe Cockeye Johnny Nikanov, the spokesman or king of thirty-eight gypsy families, but it soon becomes a Gibbon’s decline and fall of the American gypsies; and it ends with an apocalyptic vision that is not only comic but also, in its proper context, more imaginative than anything to be found in recent novels.
“Reading some of his portraits a second time, you catch an emotion beneath them that curiously resembles Dickens’: a continual wonder at the sights and sounds of a big city, a continual devouring interest in all the strange people who live there, a continual impulse to burst into praise of kind hearts and good food and down with hypocrisy.” —Malcolm Cowley, The New Republic
 

About Joseph Mitchell

See more books from this Author
Joseph Mitchell came to New York City on October 25, 1929 (the day after the stock-market crash), from a small farming town called Fairmont, in the swamp country of southeastern North Carolina. He was twenty-one years old and looking for a job as a newspaper reporter. He eventually managed to find work as an apprentice crime reporter at Police Headquarters for The World. He was a reporter and feature writer—for The World, The Herald Tribune, and The World-Telegram—for eight years, and then went to The New Yorker, where he remained until his death, on May 24, 1996, at the age of eighty-seven. Aside from writing, Mr. Mitchell’s interests included the waterfront of New York City, commercial fishing, gypsies, Southern agriculture, Irish
 
Published June 5, 2001 by Pantheon. 384 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for McSorley's Wonderful Saloon

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

More of Mitchell's inimitable reporting on characters and places, this time in New York, and the South.

| Read Full Review of McSorley's Wonderful Saloon

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

""I don't think anything could be as much fun as to get a good hold on a pompous person and shake him or her until you can hear the false teeth rattling,"" says New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno to journalist Mitchell in a World-Telegram profile from the 1930s, but the sentiment could be appli...

| Read Full Review of McSorley's Wonderful Saloon

Reader Rating for McSorley's Wonderful Saloon
92%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 7 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review