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Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel by…
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Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel (original 2017; edition 2017)

by Kathleen Rooney (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6015324,209 (4.04)124
Member:JLSMEG
Title:Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel
Authors:Kathleen Rooney (Author)
Info:St. Martin's Press (2017), 302 pages
Collections:Read in 2019, Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:Historical Fiction, Advertising, Aging, Biographical Fiction, New York City, Walking

Work details

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney (2017)

  1. 00
    Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (Othemts)
  2. 00
    Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan (Othemts)
  3. 00
    The Odd Woman and the City: A Memoir by Vivian Gornick (pbirch01)
    pbirch01: Both primarily concern the joy and serendipity found when walking around a large city such as New York
  4. 01
    The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs (Othemts)
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» See also 124 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
A bright and breezy (despite some unpleasant moments) reminiscence by a 85 year old plucky verbally adroit lady while walking her beloved streets of New York City.. It's a celebration of city walking as much as it is of a life. It is closely aligned with the life of Macy advertiser and poet, Margaret Fishback. ( )
  snash | Mar 9, 2019 |
This is the story of Lillian's walk around New York on New Year's Eve. She remembers her life and comments on events of the evening. I enjoyed the audio of this book more than reading it. The narrator, Xe Sands, makes it seem like you are sitting and listening to an old friend tell her story. ( )
  CaitZ | Jan 22, 2019 |
New Year's Eve, 1984, is the present in this novel about 84 or 85 year old Lillian Boxfish, whose lengthy perambulation around Manhattan gives her the opportunity to reminisce about her life. As she passes landmarks of her life, she remembers the events and relationships that brought her to this point. Her love of New York makes the city a main character in this novel, so it will have special meaning for readers who are familiar with the city. Through her recounting of her past, it is very clear what a spunky, flamboyant, successful, yet vulnerable woman Lillian has been. ( )
  sleahey | Jan 21, 2019 |
Kind of a literary walk around Manhattan from the jazz age to 1985.The writing is witty, but not too much. The character of Lillian is delightful. ( )
  EllenH | Dec 30, 2018 |
Read this as a Buddy Read on Litsy and enjoyed it very much. 85 year old Lillian Boxfish was the highest-paid advertising woman in the country. New Year's Eve 1984 and Lillian is on a 10 mile walk around the city meeting and talking with lots of people. This book allows you to experience everything Lillian does on her walk. She talks about things from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic, the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop. This is a very humorous and sad book at the same time that should not be missed! ( )
  EadieB | Dec 12, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
Today, Chicago has its own literary flâneuse, Kathleen Rooney. Her new novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, is about an elderly woman who walks from midtown to downtown Manhattan and back on New Year’s Eve, 1984. But Lillian Boxfish isnt just any elderly woman, she’s a fictional version of Margaret Fishback, the real-life female Don Draper of 1940s advertising and an accomplished poet. And Rooney isn’t just any writer: she walks hundreds of miles every year, exploring cities on foot.

The book bounces around the 20th century and tackles themes of work, time, motherhood, and what it means to be truly in love with a city. It’s one of my all-time favorite New York novels, right up there with Winter’s Tale, Invisible Man, and The Golem and the Jinni. I recently spoke with Rooney about walking, writing, Fishback, New York, and Chicago.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kathleen Rooneyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sands, XeReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Fall 2016 Library Journal Editors' Pick "In my reckless and undiscouraged youth," Lillian Boxfish writes, "I worked in a walnut-paneled office thirteen floors above West Thirty-Fifth Street..." She took 1930s New York by storm, working her way up writing copy for R.H. Macy's to become the highest paid advertising woman in the country. It was a job that, she says, "in some ways saved my life, and in other ways ruined it." Now it's the last night of 1984 and Lillian, 85 years old but just as sharp and savvy as ever, is on her way to a party. It's chilly enough out for her mink coat and Manhattan is grittier now--her son keeps warning her about a subway vigilante on the prowl--but the quick-tongued poetess has never been one to scare easily. On a walk that takes her over 10 miles around the city, she meets bartenders, bodega clerks, security guards, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be, while reviewing a life of excitement and adversity, passion and heartbreak, illuminating all the ways New York has changed--and has not. A love letter to city life in all its guts and grandeur, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop. Lillian figures she might as well take her time. For now, after all, the night is still young"--… (more)

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