Sad to say, this Maeve Brennan collection of short tales she published in The New Yorker in the 1960s left me cringing and wishing for Joseph Mitchell. It should have been like manna from heaven, these bursts of eavesdropping and observation from a single lady moving about NYC, but she never carried through on any of them. Notes that fell flat, words I wondered why I was reading. Lots of late afternoon restaurant dropping-in to avoid crowds and to ogle books she’d snapped up at a discount while swilling a martini. Lots of moving around from two rooms in a hotel to apartment-sitting in the Village for a friend back to hotel rooms, etc. I hope this isn’t jealousy on my part, envious of the life of a single woman writer with no entanglements set free to record (and be paid for!) her thoughts on the city. But it seemed like none of the stories really contained any meat, any bloody flesh for us to tear onto.