Monday, July 02, 2007

Woody Allen's fiction

In The Independent, Boyd Tonkin celebrates Woody Allen's comic fiction and introduces a new short story, Nanny Dearest.
Impatient critics have often accused Allen's movies of bypassing the dirt, diversity and even danger of the real Manhattan (in the 1970s and 1980s, if not now) in favour of a seductive bourgeois fantasy. He has admitted that "The New York in my films is the way I'd like it to be." But then he's no sort of social realist, but an auteur who spins a witty, almost pastoral dreamland of love and loss, sushi and cocktails, showtunes and therapy. This self-created world hovers somewhere above and beyond the grime and din of actual city streets.

His stories are equally delicious confections: virtuoso turns, tipsy on their own linguistic ingenuity. They owe something to his idol SJ Perelman, the comic genius behind the Marx Brothers' best scripts, and to the poetic New York street patter of Damon Runyon's yarns. But the erudite knockabout is all Allen's own.

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