loved every word ... Stuyvesant Town, with its unexpected charm, is as strong a character as any I've encountered in personal narrative. Demas's portrait of her mother is exquisite." - Anita Shreve, author of The Pilot's Wife"Corinne Demas's evocation of the specifics of childhood games, of family rituals, of the new TV culture, of the significance of the automobile, of the way we worked and played and learned, and of the ways in which the urban culture yearned to become a suburban culture, is, quite simply, superb. It is a most tenderly wrought book, full of affection for its world-whether it tells of shopping rituals or dating rituals, dentistry or an all-girls school of the fifties." - Jay Neugeboren, author of Imagining Robert: My Brother, Madness, and Survival: A Memoir" Eleven Stories High is a marvelously sensible, observant, honest, and often amusing portrait of a very particular place that manages at the same time to conjure the experiences of many contented children growing up in many kinds of places." - Rosellen Brown, author of Before and After"A very meticulous writer, steady and believable. Her powers of recall are extraordinary. I regard this as an important record of contemporary life, as well as a most interesting coming-of-age memoir." - Shirley Abbott, author of Womenfolks: Growing Up Down South"...evokes a girl's coming of age in New York City's planned 'utopian' community." - Publishers Weekly"...the peaceful urban idyll of Corinne Demas..." - The New York Observer"She writes with affection and humor about her years at 524 East 20th Street and her family, friends and neighbors." - Peter Cooper Village/ Stuyvesant Town News"This is an irresistible memoir. The book swarms with the sort of everyday detail that not only makes a life memorable but that asks the reader to savor rather than reject it. I smiled on every page." - Anne Bernays, author of Professor Romeo"Combines a startling immediacy of presentation with the inevitable distancing of retrospection ... Eleven Stories High is richly layered, fondly written, and true in the necessary way of art." - Sven Birkerts, author of Readings"Corinne Demas's Eleven Stories High is a remarkable portrait of a vanished world but not a vanished place. The social history it captures is important, presenting the story of a transitional generation of women, suspended between the quietism of the American Dream of the post-war era of the 1950s and the tumultuous upheavals to come at the end of the sixties. A vivid and paradoxical picture of both the urban American and domestic life once lived, captured by a writer of lyric strengths and fastidious intellect." - William O'Rourke, author of Signs of the Literary Times: Essays, Reviews, Profiles 1970-1992
Demas displays fine skills of observation in an otherwise slight memoir of growing up in a unique apartment complex. Designed as an ideal middle-class community in Manhattan, Stuyvesant Town occupies 18 square blocks; its brick buildings shut out the bustling city beyond the perimeter. Opened in 1947, the complex housed 9,000 qualified families, who, according to the author, were white and predominantly Jewish. These new residents placed a high value on education and the arts; in a particularly enjoyable chapter about the prevalence of music lessons, Demas notes that pianos "seemed like basic appliances" in Stuyvesant Town. Demas's Greek parents fully shared their neighbors' values. A comfortable, two-career couple (her father was a dentist, her mother a high school biology teacher), they sent their only child to competitive public schools. The book is most lively and engaging when Demas describes her family: her father haunted by his WWII memories or enjoying the camaraderie of fellow Greeks; her mother, in true '50s style, handling the domestic responsibilities. But Demas's depiction of apartment living--elevators, laundry rooms, lack of pets and most significantly, the close proximity to neighbors--may be most revealing to readers unfamiliar with apartment life. Many readers, however, will want more insight into the psychological makeup of Demas's family and the talented author. B&w photos. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly