"I Liked very much your sketch of Marcy's mother - -Bette Davis would have won an Oscar for her performance as "Gloria" (in compensation for not getting it for her role in "All About Eve") -- and your meticulous treatment of Gloria's "damage control. ...
"Nice portrait of Reginald Saddleford. ...
"Loved the equivalency of Bennett Cerf with 'Mr. Magoo', an alias I sometimes use when asked to give a name waiting for a table at a restaurant. ...
"Thanks to your gift as a writer, Dan has an exceptional talent for giving the reader detailed descriptions of swatches of empirical reality--evidencing a mastery of the nouns and adjectives to designate the same. Dan paints a dense portrait in words of what he sees and hears around him. ...
"(While) this novela was thin in the story line, you set out to write an impressionistic descriptive tour de force, and, by that measure, I'd say you succeeded very well." L.G.
"Very thought-provoking. I didn't realize you knew so much about fashion." F.G.
"On the plot, I liked in your story the contrast between the seriousness of what had happened to the wife earlier in her life and the interchange at Grand Central. At first one might imagine that the exchange might lead elsewhere, but it does not. I have never thought I was any good at looking at symbols or metaphors or more serious meaning behind stories so I am not sure exactly how I would say the Grand Central incident affected Dan. He was surprised at the woman's happiness with her hectic life but was that because he expected most women, like his first wife and possible even his second, to find family life a little boring and combining career and family life very difficult. As for moral failings versus good things, I am not so sure I saw Marcy as having moral failings but saw her more as being young when the affair happened and growing up." B.H.
"I could clearly hear your voice; being glad the woman with the T-shirt that read, "Hugs, not Drugs" wasn't freely dispensing the former; and your rightful resentment of bottled water and Penn Station.
"It made me laugh in several places, for example: Alfred who detested the perfectly straight line, refusing to have anything to do with a building devoid of ornamentation.
"I quite liked Dan, and recognized myself in several passages. I, too, love eavesdropping at pedestrian red lights in NYC and watching people in transit and imagining where they're headed and what they've left behind. Mornings I will start off on a brisk walk...and not allow myself to stop; so if there is a red light, I just turn the corner or go another direction. I don't stop until I've been walking an hour. This means I often end up in neighborhoods I've never been...our last visit found me deep into Battery Park where I sat on an Esplanade bench transfixed by all the young women jogging with babies strapped into these sleek, aerodynamic, 3-wheel strollers that likely cost at least $1,000.
"In addition to John Dos Passos, the book reminded me of Updike. Not that Dan was anywhere nearly as tortured as Rabbit Angstrom. It was your use of rich detail to perfectly set the reader in the scene." C.R.
"Manhattan Morning" Readers' Comments
"Your novella is almost like going to a foreign country for me since it is written as if Dan were taking photographs, describing what he sees which then prompt associations and memories. ...
"The whole Ulysses concept of the book works well. It’s fun to follow another person around, both physically and in their heads. Dan pays attention to things that I probably wouldn’t, like ads and window displays and fashion. Of course Dan is into marketing and advertising, so it makes sense. He sees 2 homeless men, but he doesn’t go off on a tangent in his head about homelessness, as I often do. So much the better. ...
"Dan is a lovable guy, with low self-esteem and a sense of confusion about who he is and what he wants. He is very human, though a little mysterious to me. The final scene is just wonderful, because I get a better sense of Dan’s better side and how he acts in the world, generously and with an openness and curiosity. I like the ending, which leaves me to ponder Dan’s future." K.B.
“I enjoyed reading Manhattan Morning. As it happens, I have spent a great deal of time in Manhattan so the descriptions of place came alive for me.” J.F.
"I remain bewitched by the unpredictable Marcy, bemused by Gloria and befuddled by Dan -- the snapshot-like observer swirling in introspection who will seemingly never really connect with any living thing--until the wonderfully graceful and provocative finale. B.J.
"I really enjoyed (the chapter) 'A Particular Girl in the Frieze of Life' and much very admire your pulling this off. The chapter just worked for me: that is, I found the interior monologue, even if delivered by a third person narrator, completely convincing. I have put in my time wandering around New York myself over the years and Dan's thoughts as he did so seemed real and, well, human and male to me. I liked your short sentences, alternated occasionally with longer and more complex ones. I also liked how you deftly wove the narrative about his family, wives and in-laws around his observations of things, buildings, clothes on display in stores and women he observed. ...
"You have a relaxed and appealing way of conveying Dan's interior dialogue, which I find convincing and engaging. The subplot about the minister and Marcy and Gloria and Dan's ambivalent reaction to the episode was entertaining, believable and deftly described. W.McC.
"I enjoyed 'Manhattan Morning.' I enjoyed it on several levels. I thought it was well crafted. What Dan sees on his wanderings is vividly described. I thought it was intriguing, a mystery of sorts, to come to know Dan through his musings about the women in his life.
"I learned that, to coin a phrase, that you can take the boy out of Manhattan, but you can’t take Manhattan out of the boy. Holy Moses you do find that city fascinating. J.R.