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The Receptionist

Nonfiction: Memoir / Literary
Unabridged   8.25 hour(s)
Publication date: 06/26/2012

The Receptionist

An Education at The New Yorker

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781611747812
Digital Download ISBN:9781611747829


Janet Groth’s seductive and entertaining look back at her 21 years (1957 to 1978—the William Shawn years) of lateral trajectory at America’s most literary of institutions.

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Product Description

Thanks to a successful interview with the painfully shy E.B. White, a beautiful, 19-year-old, blue-eyed blonde from the cornfields of Iowa lands a job as a receptionist at The New Yorker magazine. There she stays two decades, becoming general all-around factotum—watching and registering the comings and goings, marriages and divorces, scandalous affairs, failures, triumphs, and tragedies of the eccentric inhabitants of the 18th floor. Though she dreamed of becoming a writer, she never advanced at the magazine.

This memoir of a particular time and place is as much about why that was so as it is about Groth’s fascinating relationships with John Berryman, Joseph Mitchell, Muriel Spark, as well as E.J. Kahn, Calvin Trillin, Renata Adler, Peter DeVries, Charles Addams, and many other New Yorker contributors and bohemian denizens of Greenwich Village in its heyday. Eventually, Groth would have to leave The New Yorker in order to find herself.


The New Yorker’s many fans will enjoy Judith West’s warm narration of this behind-the-scenes look at the iconic magazine.”
      —Library Journal

“A nostalgic, wistful look at life inside one of America’s most storied magazines, and the personal and professional limbo of the woman who answered the phone.”
      —Kirkus Reviews

“[Groth] is witty, honest, and self-deprecating, without whining, and quite a good role model.”

“An evocative memoir.”
      —People Magazine

“[Groth’s] history is a fascinating one that’s well told, and the lessons learned are transferable to anyone ever doubting their purpose in life.”

“Vividly depicts a largely vanished Manhattan in which Ritz Crackers were the foundation of hors d’oeuvres, martinis were the mainstay of lunches, and pliable, overqualified women were stuck in lowly jobs forever.”
      —The Washington Post

Author Bio

JANET GROTH, Emeritus Professor of English at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, has also taught at Vassar, Brooklyn College, the University of Cincinnati, and Columbia. She was a Fulbright lecturer in Norway and a Visiting Fellow at Yale and is the author of Edmund Wilson: A Critic for Our Time (for which she won the NEMLA Book Award) and co-author (with David Castronovo) of Critic in Love: A Romantic Biography of Edmund Wilson. She lives in New York City.

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