A Nest of Ninnies: A Novel

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Dalkey Archive Press, 2008 - Fiction - 191 pages
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"James Schuyler and I began writing A Nest of Ninnies purely by chance," writes John Ashbery in his new introduction to this classic of American comic fiction. "We were in a car being driven by the young cameraman, Harrison Starr, with his father as a passenger in the front seat . . . Jimmy said, 'Why don't we write a novel?' And how do we do that, I asked. 'It's easy-- you write the first line,' was his reply." The result is one of the strangest and most exuberant experiments in American literary history, a verbal tour de force of suburban Americana. First published in 1969, A Nest of Ninnies is a true gem-in-the-rough, the decades-long collaborative project from two of the great poetic minds of the twentieth century.

"Destined to become a minor classic." -W. H. Auden

"Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about A Nest of Ninnies is that the two poets have dissolved their own personalities and merged so entirely into a common style that it can be said that the books author is neither Ashbery nor Schuyler but a third entity fashioned in the process of collaboration." -David Lehman, The Last Avant-Garde

"As a comedy of American manners, there is very little, if anything, to compare with A Nest of Ninnies, and it remains as strong and as clever and as funny today as when it was first published in 1969." -Brian Evenson

"The best comic novel Ive read since Lolita." -F. W. Dupree


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Review: A Nest of Ninnies

User Review  - Sara - Goodreads

I flew through this book. It is an interesting mix of 1930's escapism, with a dash of the Holly-Golightly-60's, under a comedy of manners umbrella. It reads almost like a Wes Anderson story. Lots of fun! Read full review

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Section 1
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Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13

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About the author (2008)

John Ashbery is recognized as one of the greatest twentieth-century American poets. He has won nearly every major American award for poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Yale Younger Poets Prize, the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Griffin International Award, and a MacArthur "Genius" Grant.

James Marcus Schuyler (November 9, 1923 - April 12, 1991) was an American poet whose awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his 1980 collection The Morning of the Poem.

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