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The Crack Magazine


City of Girls

Elizabeth Gilbert, Bloomsbury

The latest novel from the author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is the very definition of a page-turning romp. It’s largely set in the early 1940s and tells the story of Vivian Morris, a teenager who has dropped out of school and is packed off to New York by her despairing parents to see if her Aunt Peg can do anything with her. Aunt Peg, however, is the unconventional owner of a theatre that stages low-rent productions. She discovers that Vivian is a dab hand at sewing - and constructing costumes for not much outlay - and soon has her providing the wardrobe for her shows. Theatre life is a real eye-opener for Vivian, as is New York, and she soon embraces a twilight lifestyle of cocktails, gossip columnists and sex. The colourful cast of characters include showgirls, actors and wisecracking playboys, and among all the screwball high-jinx and hard lessons is a story of a life well-lived in a novel that beats with a humane heart.