The Last Fine Time

The Last Fine Time

5.0 3
by Verlyn Klinkenborg
     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview

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."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Klinkenborg evokes memories of postwar America and its dissolving ethnic neighborhoods in this lyrical account of a Buffalo, N.Y., tavern. Author tour. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Klinkenborg ( Making Hay, Lyons & Burford, 1986) has written the history of a bar that flourished on the East Side of Buffalo from the 1920s to 1970. He also portrays two generations of the Wenzek family, the Polish Americans who ran and lived above ``George and Eddie's'' until the bar closed down. Yet, his incredibly moving book is much more than the history of a declining neighborhood bar and a city in transition. Klinkenborg's writing is superb; his sensitivity to the story is extraordinary; and his ability to capture a watershed period in the transition of American cities in one tiny institution like ``George and Eddie's'' is unique. Recommended for most public and academic libraries for its historical and sociological insights. This book deserves a wide readership.-- Anne H. Sullivan, Tompkins Cortland Community Coll. Lib., Dryden, N.Y.
Boston Globe - Anne Tyler
"Brings an era to life. . . . All at once, a small, bygone portion of America becomes so real that we seem to be not so much reading about it as drawing it forth from our own memories."

New York Times - Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
"Wittily lyrical. . . . The shining prose of The Last Fine Time radiates both in space and in time."

Bloomsbury Review - Reamy Jansen
"[A] lovingly poetic and gitty portrait of his father-in-law's bar just outside Buffalo, before its death by thoroughway and sprawl."
USA Today - Robert Wilson
“The Wenzeks’ history joins what is finally the great American story, that of how the old world came to, and changed, the new. It’s a worthy subject for a writer of Klinkenborg’s talent, and he does it justice.”
Seattle Times - Joseph F. Keppler
“[Klinkenborg] has wrapped a profound social history around, of all things, a family-owned taproom in Buffalo, NY. Researching both the city and the family . . . Klinkenborg sensitively addresses the shifts in consciousness with passing generations. Men and women born during the baby-boom years will recognize their own parents in this poignant social portrait.”
Washington Post
"The author evokes the old ways with such darting humor and restless trope-making that the moss of nostalgia has no chance to grow on his sentence structure."

Boston Globe

"Brings an era to life. . . . All at once, a small, bygone portion of America becomes so real that we seem to be not so much reading about it as drawing it forth from our own memories."

— Anne Tyler

New York Times

"Wittily lyrical. . . . The shining prose of The Last Fine Time radiates both in space and in time."

— Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

New Statesman
"Klinkenborg understands the power of images and of signs. His more objective research in the city library is impeccable and unobtrusive, and there are hints almost of Faulkner in his handling of a community's origins and growth. . . . It is an astonishing achievement, one of the finest memoirs of recent years."

Bloomsbury Review

"[A] lovingly poetic and gitty portrait of his father-in-law's bar just outside Buffalo, before its death by thoroughway and sprawl."—Reamy Jansen, Bloomsbury Review

— Reamy Jansen

Seattle Times

“[Klinkenborg] has wrapped a profound social history around, of all things, a family-owned taproom in Buffalo, NY. Researching both the city and the family . . . Klinkenborg sensitively addresses the shifts in consciousness with passing generations. Men and women born during the baby-boom years will recognize their own parents in this poignant social portrait.”
— Joseph F. Keppler

USA Today

“The Wenzeks’ history joins what is finally the great American story, that of how the old world came to, and changed, the new. It’s a worthy subject for a writer of Klinkenborg’s talent, and he does it justice.”—,

— Robert Wilson

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679737186
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/03/1992
Pages:
15

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