A Man gets Around by John McNulty
Boston : Little, Brown and Co., 1951. First edition. Hardcover. 180 pages ; 20 cm. $2.75 dust jacket. Very good copy; no underlines or markings within the pages. Satisfaction guaranteed!
A Man Gets Around
By JOHN McNULTY
Ask anybody who reads The New Yorker to name his favorite writers and the likelihood is you'll find John McNulty around the top of the list. He writes like a breeze; he's genuinely funny, without ever forcing his humor —or the reader's; he really knows people; and he's got a ' 'heart you could roll a head of cabbage in."
In his previous book Mr. McNulty was concerned mainly with Third Avenue, New York, and particularly with the habitués of a certain hostelry on that thoroughfare. Paddy the bartender, for instance, and Slugger the handyman and Grogan the Horseplayer and Grady the Cabman and Jack Yee the Chinaman and the boss who came from Dublin.
In his new book, Mr. McNulty wanders somewhat farther afield —all the way to Ireland, in fact, though ' 'with a minimum of Mother Machree"; and Kentucky, to see a thoroughbred foal born; and Rhode Island where a friend hit the radio iackpot (they're making a movie of this one); and, to get somewhere nearer home, to Bellevue Hospital, where the author enioyed the aftermath of a not too unpleasant heart attack.
And then there are those wonderful McNulty people — the honest-to-goodness old lady in Pittsburgh, who was overlooked by the census; Mrs. Carmody whose grocery store was the kind that widows used to run in all the little towns in the East; Mr. Fowler who was "slightly crocked", the guys who met the nice little nuns on Fifth Avenue; and many, many others.
It's all McNulty and it's all rare: impossible to describe; impossible not to enioy. We can only agree with James Thurber who says that ' 'all his friends, without exception, consider John McNulty the funniest man in the world."
JAMES THURBER writes.. "It is hard to start writing anything about McNulty because I could easily let it run to thirty or forty pages without doing the great man justice. I think that all of his friends, without exception, consider John McNulty the funniest man in the world. We have all realized that it would cramp his special style to force him on the stage, or into the movies, or before a microphone. So for years we contented ourselves by introducing him to people we especially liked so that their lives might also be brightened. And this was all right, as far as it went, but it was impossible to take McNulty's wonderful cronies along with you when you called on someone." The problem of "how to get McNulty to the people" has been solved by the publication first of Third Avenue, New York and now, A Man Gets Around.
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