Books

Fran Lebowitz, A Humorist at Work

 

theparisreview.org – James Linville and George Plimpton

Fran Lebowitz’s trademark is the sneer; she disapproves of virtually everything except sleep, cigarette smoking, and good furniture. Her essays and topical interviews on subjects ranging from the difficulty of finding an acceptable apartment to the art of freeloading at weekend houses have come to be regarded as classics of literary humor and social observation.

Lebowitz was born in 1950 in Morristown, New Jersey, the daughter of furniture store proprietors. While working in the local Carvel ice-cream store, she attended an Episcopalian day school until she was thrown out for “non-specific surliness.” Certain that she would starve to death following this banishment, Lebowitz skipped college and moved to Manhattan, where she pursued such jobs as taxi driving, belt peddling, apartment cleaning (“with a small specialty in Venetian blinds”), and selling advertising space for Changes magazine.

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