The New Yorker Reader: Winter Fiction Issue, Part 1

by |
12/18/2008 2:00 PM |

“Another Manhattan,” by Donald Antrim.

I should probably mention that the link to this story is subscriber-only, which is just as well, because outside of New Yorker subscribers I can’t think who’d be that interested in a comedy of manners concerning antidepressants, alcoholism restaurant reservations, Upper West Side flower shops and infidelities among two upper-upper-middle-class, late-middle-age couples.

It’s a pretty satiric, well-timed stuff with people juggling each other on cell phones, and actually really good about the particular claustrophobia of New York in the winter: too hot inside and too cold outside; hissing radiators, bitter winds, and a crowd right at the vestibule as you’re stepping outside. Still, an aura of who-cares seems to dominate; Antrim is ultimately more interested in using a flower-shop girl as a projecting screen for his protagonist’s psychosis than he is in acknowledging the obvious class difference at work. Which is true to his characters, but still.