An Innocent Population
Last Fine Time / Edition 1by Verlyn Klinkenborg
Pub. Date: 04/28/2004
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
By turns, an elegy, a celebration, and a social history, The Last Fine Time is a tour de force of lyrical style. Verlyn Klinkenborg chronicles the life of a family-owned restaurant in Buffalo, New York, from its days as a prewar Polish tavern to its reincarnation as George & Eddie's, a swank nightspot serving highballs and French-fried shrimp to a generation/i>
By turns, an elegy, a celebration, and a social history, The Last Fine Time is a tour de force of lyrical style. Verlyn Klinkenborg chronicles the life of a family-owned restaurant in Buffalo, New York, from its days as a prewar Polish tavern to its reincarnation as George & Eddie's, a swank nightspot serving highballs and French-fried shrimp to a generation of optimistic and prosperous Americans. In the inevitable dimming of the neon sign outside the restaurant, we see both the passing of an old world way of life and the end to the postwar exuberance that was Eddie Wenzek's "last fine time."
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- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)
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I was born on the East Side of Buffalo in the 1950s and raised there. My uncle, who lived with us, owned a bar on Sycamore Street and I worked in that bar. I eventually moved on but my parents, unlike the Wenceks, continued to live in their East Side home until their death in the 90s. I always questioned why they stayed. Thank you to Mr. Klinkenborg for answering my quandry by shedding light on who my parents were. And thank you to my friend who recommended that I read his copy of this wonderful book. I am passing on the word and hopefully others can find a copy to read. If this book is ever reprinted, I have a very long list of persons who will be receiving it as a gift.
i read this book several years ago and it has stayed w/ me; most books don't. i recommend it regularly to any and all w/ even the most distant connection to buffalo. i've never even been to buffalo, but i feel as if i have, thanks to mr. klinkenborg. a fine talent and a fine book!
OK. Think the headline is a bit to rapturous? It isn't. This book evokes a time and a place a well as any I have ever read. Maybe 'Time and Again' is in the same league in terms of placing me in someone else's shoes. I love 'the American roadside' and so I do have a special affinity for this subject matter, but I don't think that's why I find the book some compelling. I found the author's light touch with his pen to be the difference between a droll social history...and a magnificent journey.