Sunday, September 28, 2008

BOOK REVIEW: The Mural at Waverly Inn by Edward Sorel and Dorothy Gallagher

The Waverly Inn, a landmark of New York’s Greenwich Village since the 1920’s, was purchased by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter in 2006. The refurbished restaurant became a beacon for cognoscenti since it was reopened, in part for Edward Sorel’s dazzling mural covering its walls.

If the style of the artwork on the cover feels familiar it may be because you’ve come across Sorel's drawings in The New Yorker. A regular contributor to the famous magazine, he was commissioned by Carter to create the bacchanalian scene for the restaurant. Mining 150 years of Greenwich Village history, Sorel selected 43 luminaries to cavort in the hedonism of his never-ending party.

The Mural at the Waverly Inn: A Portrait of Greenwich Village Bohemians features Edward Sorel’s mural as a foldout at the back of the book. The pages of this hardcover volume feature each of the bohemians cropped out of the mural, accompanied by pithy mini-biographies written by Dorothy Gallagher. Here you’ll see Truman Capote as a butterfly attacking Walt Whitman and be reminded of Capote’s indulgence in drugs and alcohol. Norman Mailer lies on the banks of a reflecting pond in a pose reminiscent of Narcissus while Anais Nin cavorts nude, and Jack Kerouac furiously types on his novel. Other luminaries include Djuna Barnes, Joan Baez, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Thelonius Monk, Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol to name just a few.

If you can’t get a reservation at Waverly Inn, this charming coffee table book is the next best thing. At 56 pages, The Mural at the Waverly Inn is a small treasure to be sampled and savored at leisure.

ISBN13: 9780307377319
ISBN10: 0307377318

56 Pages
Publisher: Pantheon
Publication Date: October 28, 2008


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