Jill Robinson

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 195

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Astringent, meticulous with language, Miss Lebowitz is a sort of Edwin Newman for the chic urban-decay set. [In "Metropolitan Life", she] discriminates, takes authority and makes rules, "Large, naked, raw carrots are acceptable as food only to those who live in hutches eagerly awaiting Easter." This is refreshing if you're tired of everyone jogging up and telling you to wear life like a loose garment…. Fran Lebowitz wears life like an itchy muffler. She braids its fringes, flings it over her shoulder and savors its discomforts….

"Metropolitan Life" is not simply consistently cross, swift and sly, as if that would not be enough. It introduces an important humorist in the classic tradition. The satire is principled, the taste impeccable—there is character here as well as personality.

You must read about Chicken Little, the bar for the desperate unadopted children who try to pick up parents, and "Writers on Strike," wherein not-writing is done in public instead of at home. Miss Lebowitz has been doing a lot of writing. I want more.

Jill Robinson, "Swift and Cranky," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1978 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), March 26, 1978, p. 9.




Anne Fadiman