New York in the mid-1980s is the scene for this luminous novel. It is New Year’s Eve 1984, and eighty-five year old Lillian Boxfish sets out on a walk to her customary neighborhood restaurant for a 5 PM dinner. But having mindlessly eaten a package of Oreos while having a difficult telephone conversation with her son, she is not hungry, and adventure calls.
Over the course of the evening, Lillian walks past many locations from her past, and a glorious past it was. She arrived in New York in 1926, and set about using her wit and persuasive powers to become the highest paid advertising woman in America. Lillian works for R. H. Macy, as the store used to be called, marries, has a child, experiences heartbreak and disaster, and through it all, she continues to love her New York. This novel is both a love letter to New York City, and a portrait of a woman who lived a remarkable life. I loved it.