From the bestselling author of The Middlesteins comes comes this unique novel about a forgotten heroine of the 1930s.Meet
Mazie Phillips: big-hearted and feisty, she runs The Venice, the famed
movie theatre in the rundown Bowery district of New York City. She
spends her days taking tickets, chatting with drunks and eccentrics, and
chasing out the troublemakers. After closing up, the nights are her
own, and she fills them with romance and booze aplenty-even during
Prohibition.When the Great Depression hits, and homelessness
soars, Mazie opens The Venice to those in need, giving them shelter and
dimes for food and booze, and earning the nickname 'Saint Mazie'.
Inspired by Joseph Mitchell's essay about Mazie in Up in the Old Hotel,
acclaimed author Jami Attenberg's novel honours an extraordinary life
and heralds a completely original approach to writing historical
fiction. Weaving together fictionalised diaries, writings and
interviews, Attenberg has constructed an utterly convincing portrait of
Mazie Philips, which is also a deeply moving portrait of New York as it
passed through the First World War, Prohibition, the boom of the '20s,
and then the terrible depression of the '30s.
Jami Attenberg is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels, including The Middlesteins and Saint Mazie. She has contributed essays about sex, urban life, and food to The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Lenny Letter, among other publications. She divides her time between Brooklyn and New Orleans. Visit her online at jamiattenberg.com or follow her @jamiattenberg.
Jami Attenberg's fictional reconstruction of Mazie's life is a bold departure from how historical novels are usually written. Split between fictionalised diary entries, excerpts from The Unpublished Autobiography of Mazie Phillips-Gordon (also fiction) and Attenberg's invented interviewees, the structure resonates a relentless energy that keeps the narrative rattling along ... Attenberg captures Mazie's voice so vividly you can close the book and still hear her talking. She is a tremendous achievement ... and you sure won't forget her in a hurry. Attenberg has written a bold, magnificent book about family, altruism, women and freedom, as well as a love letter to New York and a timely social manifesto for the 21st century. What more can we ask of our fiction?
Guardian - Benjamin Johncock
Fierce, feisty and moving, this is a fine portrait of an inspiring woman
Sunday Express - Eithne Farry
Fascinating ... Attenberg's prose is sharp, fast-paced and economical, brilliantly channelling Mazie's vivacious character. And despite being set firmly in the past, Mazie's experiences of grief, family, friendship and mental health are timeless and universal.
Attenberg's novel reads like a very real portrait of the 1920s and 1930s ...
this is a novel with as big a heart as Mazie herself.
Independent - Lucy Scholes
Red - Viv Groskop
Attenberg's style, at turns lyrical and blunt, is a strong match for Mazie, who spends her days in a small brass cage, selling tickets, and her nights on the streets of the Bowery, cavorting with men or, during the Great Depression, handing out dimes and bars of soap to the 'bums.'
This voice - pleasantly tinged with jazz age argot, refreshingly modern in its honesty, and always intimate - is Attenberg's great achievement in Saint Mazie. ...[A] boisterous, deep, provocative book.
Ingeniously constructed.... An attentive character study that also happens to be rich in city lore and period detail, Saint Mazie is an edifying, companionable and moving novel.
Kansas City Star
Tender-hearted and loose-living.
Mazie is the unlikely guardian angel of New York City's Depression-era down-and-outs.
You'll love this smart, touching novel that brings her world to life.
Fresh and witty... Saint Mazie looks deep into the spirit of generosity.
Jami Attenberg's Mazie lives a very big life in a very small space, turning her darkest experiences into something inspiring.
Wall Street Journal
Saint Mazie is full of love and drink and dirty sex and nobility.... Attenberg takes Mitchell's witty, colourful piece and spins it into something equally lively and new.
New York Times Book Review
A hard-nosed heroine with a heart of gold, Mazie will leave her mark on you
Book Diva - Rebecca Foster
Saint Mazie offers proof again that Jami Attenberg is a brilliant, lion-hearted storyteller
Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements
I'd love to be Jami Attenberg for a day to see what she sees. The next best thing is to read the touching, funny, and wise Saint Mazie, which is as difficult to categorise as the hard-living, heart-breaking, soul-saving ticket-taker it is about.
Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat
Saint Mazie is a novel with as much style and moxie as its titular character. I missed Mazie Gordon-Phillips and her family when I was finished reading, but I missed New York, too. By telling this one woman's story, Jami Attenberg has managed to write an ode to New Yorkers of every generation. She is a true poet of the city.
Gabrielle Zevin, author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
A terrific novel - touching, funny and big-hearted