Lucy Lethbridge

The Bright Incongruity of It All

Gone to New York: Adventures in the City

By

Granta Books 203pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

New Yorker writer Ian Frazier has a mild fixation with plastic carrier bags. Over the years, he has become transfixed by the sight of them billowing, tattered and water-logged, in the bare branches of New York’s sidewalk trees, along with several hundred tangled metres of cassette tape. Understandably, he loathes the ugliness of this spectacle and, with a friend, invented a device, a sort of hooked pole, with which to unsnag stuff from trees. Their success (they even patented the pole) led to a brief flirtation with a similarly cunning invention with which to bring helium balloons down to earth. They were inspired by the irritating sight of one of those silver heart-shaped birthday balloons apparently stuck forever to the ceiling of Grand Central Station, dancing across its mural of the constellations.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter