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  • Location: New York

City of Girls

City of Girls

Why a Booktrail?

1940s: Fun, frolics and fashion in New York

  • ISBN: 978-1408867044
  • Genre: Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

It is the summer of 1940. Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in New York with her suitcase and sewing machine, exiled by her despairing parents. Although her quicksilver talents with a needle and commitment to mastering the perfect hair roll have been deemed insufficient for her to pass into her sophomore year of Vassar, she soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse, her unconventional Aunt Peg’s charmingly disreputable Manhattan revue theatre. There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses.

Exile in New York is no exile at all: here in this strange wartime city of girls, Vivian and her girlfriends mean to drink the heady highball of life itself to the last drop. And when the legendary English actress Edna Watson comes to the Lily to star in the company’s most ambitious show ever, Vivian is entranced by the magic that follows in her wake. But there are hard lessons to be learned, and bitterly regrettable mistakes to be made. Vivian learns that to live the life she wants, she must live many lives, ceaselessly and ingeniously making them new

Travel Guide

Travel to the New York of the City of Girls

“When I was younger, I had wanted to be at the very center of all the action in New York, but I slowly came to realize that there is no one center. The center is everywhere – wherever people are living out their lives. It’s a city with a million centers.”

The sense of freedom and frivolity in New York

“People will tell you not to waste your youth having too much fun, but they’re wrong. Youth is an irreplaceable treasure, and the only respectable thing to do with irreplaceable treasure is to waste it. So do the right thing with your youth, Vivian—squander it.”

The city is a special one. No one sleeps here!

“A person only gets to move to New York City for the first time in her life once, Angela, and it’s a pretty big deal. Perhaps this idea doesn’t hold any romance for you, since you are a born New Yorker. Maybe you take this splendid city of ours for granted. Or maybe you love it more than I do, in your own unimaginably intimate way. Without a doubt, you were lucky to be raised here. But you never got to move here—and for that, I am sorry for you. You missed one of life’s great experiences. New York City in 1940! There will never be another New York like that one. I’m not defaming all the New Yorks that came before 1940, or all the New Yorks that came after 1940. They all have their importance. But this is a city that gets born anew in the fresh eyes of every young person who arrives here for the first time. So that city, that place—newly created for my eyes only—will never exist again. It is preserved forever in my memory like an orchid trapped in a paperweight. That city will always be my perfect New York.”

BookTrail Boarding Pass: City of Girls

Destination: New York  Author/guide:  Elizabeth Gilbert Departure Time: 2000s

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