Author who stopped authorizing profiled

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • November 3, 2010 - 10:18 AM


This would have been great news in 1978:


HBO's Martin Scorsese-directed documentary about writer Fran Lebowitz will premiere on November 22, the network said Tuesday.

As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Fran Lebowitz stopped writing in 1981 to devote herself fully to smoking. There’s been talk of a novel, but there’s been talk that the Yellowstone caldera may explode; doesn’t mean it’ll happen in our lifetimes. I had no idea she was doing “Law and Order” shows, playing a judge, but that seems about right; she was tired and annoyed when she was a young woman, and has probably gotten more so now that she’s 60.

For those who have no idea who she was: in 1978 she published a collection of humorous essays - epigrammatic, short, brittle, urbane, and very New York. She was the toast of the world. She took three years to put out another book, which was more of the same but not as good. I still remember beginning the book with a grin of anticipation, only to feel it fade away. It’s the curse of the follow-up album. Today the book seems stale and rather strained.

She also makes best-dressed lists, because she always wears a shirt with an open collar and a dark tailored suit and doesn’t accessorize.

You can find a list of her quips here.

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