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In The Land of NYX: Night and Its Inhabitants
Original Publication: 1984 by Anchor Press/Doubleday
In mythology, Nyx is the goddess of the night. Although this is a report on New York at night and the people who have kept it moving – like Duke Ellington, Andy Warhol, police officers, cabdrivers, drinkers, writers and musicians – the book also contains stories of people encountered in the daylight.
“Very likely the best way to characterize John Bowers’s fifth book is to say that it is the outtakes of his life, the bits and pieces he did not use in his essays, novels or magazine articles. More, it is the sudden revelations that crammed his mind and tumbled out of his mouth in long, sometimes drunken, nights in Greenwich Village bars and bars across the country; bits and pieces spoken to people as dazed as he by alcohol, along with the exhilarating sound of their voices, the respect accorded auditor and speaker, speaker and auditor. It is a lovely book. When I read it, I thought that it does not plead for your attention, it entices it. It is a beguiling book. Parts of it moisten the eyes and pull at the lips to make smiles. Yet it is too grave for laughter. It is punctuated with anxiety, regret, sorrow, love.”
–Gilbert Millstein, The New York Times Book Review
“…Bowers’ prose is always direct, precise, resonant, never less than a cut or two above journalese. And the recurrent outbursts of pain and anger about the life of a serious professional writer are–unlike most such soul-barings–convincing, naked, with grimly funny specifics.”
”In the Land of Nyx” reads like a long anxiety dream, mingled with bits of autobiography, interviews with night people, the author’s own sleepless nights and a certain amount of whimsical research…Someone at Anchor Press/Doubleday apparently felt both commitment and enthusiasm toward In the Land of Nyx. So will many readers. The next time Mr. Bowers lies in bed passing his life in review, he may find himself drifting off with the satisfaction that comes from being not merely published but appreciated as well.”
–Anatole Broyard, The New York Times