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Thisbe Nissen   The Good People of New York  
Thisbe Nissen    
interview

excerpt

 
O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in't!
--William Shakespeare, The Tempest 5:1: 202-205

"Cheers," Miranda cries. "To the good people of New York."
--Thisbe Nissen, The Good People of New York

"What's in a name?" Shakespeare once wrote. For author Thisbe Nissen, whose debut novel wittily plays with the idea of names and of Shakespeare, a name has an utmost significance, one that can lend direction to a person's entire life. Her new book, entitled The Good People of New York, lovingly and skillfully chronicles nearly twenty years in the New York world of a mother and daughter and the people--good, bad, yet always resoundingly human--who populate their lives.

The novel begins with the unexpected and almost inexplicable coupling of quirky New Yorker Roz Rosenzweig and idealistic Nebraskan Edwin Anderson. Though the marriage begins happily, the intervening years expose the disparities in their personalities and eventually lead to a divorce. Before the union fissures, it produces a daughter, Miranda. With Edwin's return to his native midwest, the story shifts its focus to the affectionately combative relationship between Roz and Miranda and their dual maturation in a changed world. As a mother-daughter tale interwoven with a bildungsroman, The Good People of New York is a brilliantly-rendered modern take on William Shakespeare's The Tempest, the play that has cameo appearances throughout the novel. Roz and Miranda, the Prospero and Miranda of Manhattan, find themselves molded by the strangers who capsize on their island from far-away places. With these good people of New York, Roz and Miranda discover a "brave new world" together.

This issue of Bold Type presents an interview with Thisbe Nissen and "The Rather Unlikely Courtship of Edwin Anderson and Roz Rosenzweig," the opening chapter of her engaging new novel, The Good People of New York.

-- Kelley Kawano

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  Photo credit: Erin Ergenbright

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