February 2017 Indie Next List
“Join 85-year-old Lillian on a New Year's Eve stroll through Manhattan, a city as changed by time as Lillian herself. As with Joyce's Ulysses, the reader is privy to a life told in snapshots of memory within a single day. Based loosely on the life of Margaret Fishback, Lillian is a former Depression-era advertising copywriter for R.H. Macy's and a poet of light verse. She is also a mother and an ex-wife. Rooney's work has a light touch, but she is never frivolous. Rooney has the capacity to portray depth within brevity, pain within humor. Here is a novel that both entertains and enlightens, a balance rarely achieved.”
— Sarah Sorensen (E), Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI
"Between author Rooney's story and narrator Xe Sands's craftsmanship, this Walk will sweep listeners off their feet...Through Sands we feel the force of Lillian's personality — with all its drive, wit, and grace — as well as the counterforces that want to constrain it." — AudioFile Magazine
Fall 2016 Library Journal Editors' Pick
“In my reckless and undiscouraged youth,” Lillian Boxfish writes, “I worked in a walnut-paneled office thirteen floors above West Thirty-Fifth Street…”
She took 1930s New York by storm, working her way up writing copy for R.H. Macy’s to become the highest paid advertising woman in the country. It was a job that, she says, “in some ways saved my life, and in other ways ruined it.”
Now it’s the last night of 1984 and Lillian, 85 years old but just as sharp and savvy as ever, is on her way to a party. It’s chilly enough out for her mink coat and Manhattan is grittier now—her son keeps warning her about a subway vigilante on the prowl—but the quick-tongued poetess has never been one to scare easily. On a walk that takes her over 10 miles around the city, she meets bartenders, bodega clerks, security guards, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be, while reviewing a life of excitement and adversity, passion and heartbreak, illuminating all the ways New York has changed—and has not.
A love letter to city life in all its guts and grandeur, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.
Lillian figures she might as well take her time. For now, after all, the night is still young.
About the Author
KATHLEEN ROONEY is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and a founding member of Poems While You Wait. She has been recognized as one of Newcity Lit's "Lit 50: Who Really Books in Chicago 2018." Her previous work includes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Allure, Salon, The Rumpus, The Nation, the Poetry Foundation website, and the Chicago Tribune. Kathleen was named "Best Novelist" by the Chicago Reader in 2017. She is married to the novelist Martin Seay.
2018 Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration for Adult Listeners
"Between author Rooney's story and narrator Xe Sands's craftsmanship, this WALK will sweep listeners off their feet...Through Sands we feel the force of Lillian's personality--with all its drive, wit, and grace--as well as the counterforces that want to constrain it. A concluding interview explores why the performances of the most exemplary narrators are so seemingly effortless yet so compelling." -AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award Winner
"Reader Xe Sands voices poignancy, old age, wit and youthful snark beautifully..." -Library Journal, starred review
"Narrator Sands depicts Lillian with an intelligent, worldly tone, keeping true to her cadence but alternating a scratchy, elderly voice in the present day with a lighter, younger-sounding voice in the memory flashbacks. ...Sands’ voice takes on the quality of a radio reader as she conveys the bits of poetry and advertising jingles,
adding humor and another layer of insight into Lillian’s character. Sands’ affectionate and expressive
performance perfectly matches both character and mood." -Booklist, starred review
"...[T]he audiobook is outstandingly read in a voice that's exactly what you'd expect from a feisty 85-year-old...Kathleen Rooney's Lillian is delightful. You'll remember her long after you've finished the book." -Inside Jersey