Lesley Levene

Style Guru

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

By Mary Norris

W W Norton 228pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

Mary Norris got her first job at the New Yorker in 1978 and has been their page OKer since 1993. In this unique role, which seems to be the equivalent of copy-editorial superhead, she works with the magazine’s editor, the author, a fact checker and a second proofreader – staffing levels UK magazines could only fantasise about – to ensure that each piece is perfect when it goes to press. You can be pretty confident, then, that she’s learned a thing or two about grammar and punctuation, not to mention dealing with authors, over the years. Now she’s written a book, part memoir but mainly a charming, chatty, discursive style guide, to share that knowledge.

To say ‘memoir’ is perhaps misleading. The New Yorker itself is at the heart of this book,

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