Helen DeWitt

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For a while it seemed that Pete would not go but someone had the bright idea of calling his father who made an uplifting speech about Shirley Temple, that little girl had more spunk in her little finger was the general tenor of the argument, look at Julie Andrews he went on to say, do you think Miss Andrews found it easy to work with a man who imagined he had mastered Cockney? These people are professionals, he explained, it's not all glamour, it's a tough life but the show must go on.

Pete hung up and relayed the comment about Shirley Temple to the rest of the band.


In this new collection, DeWitt maps a rangy and verbose urban landscape populated by couch surfers, VC bros, underpaid artists, a guitarist on a walkabout, mathematicians, two seemingly different guys named Gil, obscure European novelists and an itinerant heiress fluent in the tinkering grammars of probability, risk and global finance, all of whom behave with a certain whimsical ephemerality, 'like impostors in a witness protection programme'. Andrew Durban, Frieze

A fistful of other reviews:

James Wood at The New Yorker

Adam Kirsch at The Atlantic

Adam Fales at LA Review of Books

Hermione Hoby at The New York Times

Lauren Oyler at The Baffler

Jonathan Dee at Harper's

A few options for buying are listed below. Some readers may be drawn to the economies of the secondhand market; they can, if they like, do what readers did in the days when The Last Samurai was out of print, and send the author a goodwill gesture via PayPal.

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