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Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel by…

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

by Kathleen Rooney (Author)

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6615922,340 (4.01)152
Title:Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel
Authors:Kathleen Rooney (Author)
Info:St. Martin's Press (2017), 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:chicago, to-buy, to-read

Work details

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney (2017)

  1. 10
    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
  2. 00
    Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (Othemts)
  3. 00
    Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan (Othemts)
  4. 01
    The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs (Othemts)

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» See also 152 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
fiction, nyc, Kathleen Rooney, strong women, new york, historical fiction, aging, USA ( )
  jillrhudy | Jul 25, 2019 |
Lillian is a strange character. The highest paid advertising writer in the United States, she is well liked and well thought of, for a female writer. She has goals that don’t include being someone’s wife, but that is what she becomes. She has ambivalent feeling about being a mother, though she loves her son. It’s no wonder that she has major problems down the road. So now she is elderly, and it’s New Year’s Eve, and she goes for a walk in the city, even in the unsafe parts. She meets people, some new, some old, some nice, some dangerous, reminiscing about her long life. Though we hear much about Lillian’s experiences, I never felt that I really got to know her. Part of her seems to be hidden away and we only get glimpses of the real Lillian. Even discounting the parts that are lacking in the book, the last scene that ends the story was so unreal it was totally unbelievable. The best part of this tale for me was the wonderful performance by the narrator in the audio version. ( )
  Maydacat | Jun 22, 2019 |
In Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk by Kathleen Rooney a woman’s life is portrayed as she reminisces on New Year’s Eve 1984. She is strolling the streets of the city she loves, New York. The author describes the various neighbourhoods that 85 year old Lillian walks through and relates the impact these neighbourhoods had on her life. This story of a woman who became a highly successful ad copywriter to Macy’s, a published poet, and forged a stellar career in advertising is at times charming while at others quite bittersweet. The story is all the more interesting as it is based on the real life of Margaret Fishback, “the highest paid female advertising copywriter in the world during the 1930s”.

Lillian recounts her celebrated career in advertising and the milestones in her life and adds a richness to the story with the details of life in New York City during the passing decades. Lillian is definitely a character to remember. She’s elegant, smart and fearless. Her life wasn’t always easy, but she proves herself a survivor.

The fact that the author is also a poet certainly shines through in the lovely writing. I did think there were times that the book was a little too over-written but overall this is an intelligent and witty story that I enjoyed. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jun 12, 2019 |
I just finished [Lillian Boxfish] and it was absolutely charming. Not action-packed by any means, but a slow unfolding of her life. Lillian is taking a walk around her favorite city and hometown: New York. It is New Year's Eve and as she meanders through the streets, walking to her favorite haunts, we travel down memory lane with this spunky by elderly woman. She was the highest paid ad writer back in the 1930's, but of course, as soon as she got married she was forced to quit her job and be "just" a mom, as required my society and her employer back then. Lillian didn't surrender herself entirely. LOL. There are a few twists and turns and lots of humor and introspection. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Lillian. ( )
  Berly | May 24, 2019 |
It’s New Year’s Eve in New York City and 83 year old Lillian Boxfish decides to walk to her habitual New Year’s Eve favorite restaurant. Her walk becomes a journey as she walks and reminisces about her life.

She arrived in the city in the 1930’s, an ambitious young woman in a time when women didn’t have careers. She became the highest paid woman in advertising, writing light- hearted rhyming jingles and eventually a few books.

She gave up her career when she married and had a child. Her life took several twists and turns and we see them as she walks and remembers, just as we see the evolution of New York City, changing styles, and women’s roles.

She’s a resilient woman and determinedly cheerful, although an event after her husband left makes me wonder how deep her happiness is and whether she is as self reliant as she seems. It’s a meditation not only on her life, but on changing culture, aging, and of course, New York City, which emerges as a character in itself ( )
  streamsong | May 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (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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"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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