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Slaves of New York
By Tama Janowitz (1986)
First Edition, First Printing
DESCRIPTION: Oh, Tama Janowitz, you saucy Postmodernist minx! Although time has not been kind to her subsequent career, in 1986 her celebrated book Slaves of New York vaulted her into national attention and adoration, a hip and contemporary "novel in stories" that got her placed by the media into the notorious "literary brat pack" that also included Bret Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney. (And of course the high-profile 1989 Hollywood adaptation of the book, starring Bernadette Peters, Steve Buscemi, and Janowitz herself, didn't hurt.) Loosely based on events from her real life (among other things, Janowitz was well known in those years for being buddies with Andy Warhol), the book is a series of related vignettes about artists bumming around a pre-gentrified lower Manhattan in the early '80s, a fascinating look at how commerce and slumming came crashing together in those years to produce the re-gentrification of the area for the first time in decades, all through a vibrant and possibly overhyped gallery scene that eventually produced such superstars as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman, Keith Haring and more. Janowitz's literary qualities as a writer are still hotly debated to this day (see online reviews of her newest work for vitriolic evidence of this), but it can't be denied that Slaves of New York is a fascinating and important historical document of a time now passed -- a magical age when hipsters could still secure entire warehouses of space in the East Village for a song, and when Brooklyn was still a far-off wasteland of dumpy blue-collar immigrant families -- and a must-have touchstone for any collector of Postmodernist first editions (not to mention a perfect gift for that nostalgic, aging Gen-Xer in your life). Being offered at a very affordable price today, this is a great acquisition for those looking to fill out the '80s shelf of their personal library.
CONDITION: Text: Very Good (VG). Mostly in excellent shape, except for a dent in the front cover, and the starting of foxing on the page edges (see photos for more). Dust jacket: Very Good Plus (VG+). Almost in like-new condition, with price unclipped, except for a bit of dirt and one small wrinkle on the front cover. Stated "First Edition" on the copyright page; existence of "1" on copyright page marks this as a true first printing as well.
PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at the Hyde Park Book Fair, Chicago, October 2014.