Cover image for The last fine time
Title:
The last fine time
Author:
Klinkenborg, Verlyn.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, [1990]

©1990
Physical Description:
209 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
"A portion of this work was originally published in somewhat different form in the New Yorker"--T.p. verso.
Language:
English
Local Note:
Rare Book Room copy: In red paper covered boards; red cloth spine; gilt title on spine; color pictorial dust jacket; signed by the author.
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9780394571959
Format :
Book

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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Local History
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Local History
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Buffalo Collection Non-Circ
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Buffalo Collection Non-Circ
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RBR WNYO 1991.K6 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Rare Books-Appointment Needed
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Local History
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Local History
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Local History
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Local History
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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F129.B89 P75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Local History
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On Order

Summary

Summary

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." Book jacket.


Author Notes

Verlyn Klinkenborg comes form a family of Iowa farmers. He is a member of the editorial board of The New York Times and has written for The New Yorker, Mother Jones, and Harper's. He lives on a small farm in upstate New York.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

While pioneers of the essay's recent resurgence--Chatwin, Angell, Hoagland, and the rest--undergo textbook apotheosis, talented younger writers arise to join in the form's renaissance. Witness Verlyn Klinkenborg, already a master of the essay about everyday life. Like Balzac and Durrell, he puts a place at the center of his book. It's a workingman's tavern in the east side of Buffalo that affords him the opportunity to write a family biography of its owners and to recount and analyze Polish immigration, working-class life, social and cultural mobility, popular culture, and really awful weather. Setting is everything here, and fortunately, diligent and thorough understate the magnitude of Klinkenborg's research. The amount of detail astonishes (some readers will find it excessive). Comparisons to McPhee are in order, but Klinkenborg is far more literary and experimental in organization and, at this point in his work, lacks McPhee's common touch. Categorizing the book is a problem: it may appeal to readers of literature, urban studies, human geography, ethnic and community sociology, and of course, to everyone in upstate New York. Notes. ~--Roland Wulbert


Publisher's Weekly Review

From its deft first sentence (``Snow begins as a rumor in Buffalo, New York''), this detailed, wistfully affectionate re-creation of the immigrant experience clarifies the human cost of the disappearance of once-distinctive ethnic neighborhoods. Klinkenborg ( Making Hay ) tells the story of a tavern in Polish-American East Buffalo that his father-in-law, Eddie Wenzek, inherited in 1947 at age 27. Originally purchased by his father in 1922 during Prohibition, the workingman's bar was transformed by Eddie into a fashionable late-night spot. The flowing narrative evokes a time and place where streetcars clattered, where advertising had not yet molded a consumerist culture in a postwar America ``beating its swords into appliances.'' The Wenzels sold the tavern in 1970 and moved to the suburbs. Klinkenborg links the bar's fortunes to the gradual erosion of Buffalo's sense of destiny, ``a sad tale of unknotting.'' (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

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. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Prologuep. 3
Eddiep. 10
Thomasp. 35
Juliap. 65
Araratp. 88
Eddiep. 118
An Innocent Populationp. 149
The Fallsp. 175
Epiloguep. 199
Notesp. 203
Acknowledgmentsp. 210