General Note
When blurbing one’s books, it is customary to reprint the blurbs of other writers whose arms may have been twisted, or to quote critics, who—for whatever reason—admired a book at the moment of publication. Instead I thought I’d retype some passages. Let you decide for yourself. Radical idea?

Of course retyping made me itch to edit and maybe re-write, but then isn’t this a little like chess: once you’ve taken your hand off the bishop, you’re supposed to live with the consequences. So I’ve resisted, except in the introduction to The Letters of John Cheever. Here I cut deeply. I wanted to get quickly past my own angst and give at least a glimpse of the letters.

The Good Nanny

(Bloomsbury; 2004)

 
“The intellect of man is forced to choose
Perfection of the life or of the work”
 
—William Butler Yeats
 
 
Chapter 1
 
“You’re in the country now. Safe at last.”

Experience the river views that inspired a famous school of art. Live in the grand estate neighborhood where Frank A. Vanderlip (First National City Bank) played penny poker with John D. Rockefeller (Standard Oil). This is Tara on Hudson. Full air. Stunningly appointed Great Room with fieldstone hearth. EIK. 4 BRs. Jacuzzi A prestigious gem on one secluded acre. Special and unique. Walk to train. Maid’s quarters with separate entrance. $850,000.
 
Sotheby’s had placed the ad in the New York Times Magazine section. Joy Gainsborough-Orsini had spread her Gore-Tex parka on the sod, gone down on her belly to shoot the picture. And so the building—large enough in life—seemed to pierce the very skies.