Essays from the award-winning New Yorker writer and author of This Old Man: “Witty, worldly, deeply elegiac, and…heartbreaking.”—The Boston Globe
For more than fifty years, as both editor of and contributor for The New Yorker, Roger Angell has honed a reputation as a master of the autobiographic essay—sharp-witted, plucky, and at once nostalgic and unsentimental.
In Let Me Finish, Angell reflects on a remarkable life (while admitting to not really remembering the essentials) and on its influences large and small—from growing up in Prohibition-era New York, to his boyhood romance with baseball, to crossing paths with such twentieth-century luminaries as Babe Ruth, John Updike, Joe DiMaggio, S.J. Perelman, and W. Somerset Maugham. He discusses his dread of Christmas, a revealing recurring dream, and his stepfather, E.B. White. He recalls glorious images from the movies he saw as a child (for which Angell has a nearly encyclopedic memory), the sheer bliss of sailing off the coast of Maine, and the even greater pleasure of heading home to the perfect 6 p.m. vodka martini.
Personal, reflective, funny, delightfully random, and disarming, this is a unique collection of scenes from a life by the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Game, “one of the most entertaining and gracious prose stylists of his…generation” (Time).
“A lovely book and an honest one…about loyalty and love, about work and play, about getting on with the cards that life deals you. It's also a genuinely grown-up book, a rare gem indeed in our pubescent age.”—The Washington Post
Over the past few years, New Yorker readers have been treated to the occasional personal reflection from Angell, stepping outside his usual baseball beat to write about such intimacies as his passion for sailing or his childhood fascination with the movies. It's the family drama that's of most immediate interest, as Angell recalls the divorce of his parents, Ernest and Katherine Angell, and his mother's subsequent remarriage to E.B. White, affectionately known as Andy. Or perhaps readers will be more eager to hear about life at the New Yorker, especially since Angell admits, "I no longer expect to write" much more about his fellow writers and editors than the miniature portraits collected here (but thankfully we do have such scenes as the visit he and S.J. Perelman paid to W. Somerset Maugham while vacationing in France in 1949). Whatever the subject, Angell writes with his customary elegance and modesty; "I've kept quiet about my trifling army career all these years," he says in one essay, just before spinning off a series of captivating anecdotes about his WWII service. The assembled pieces add up to a fine memoir.