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Monday, September 17, 1979

Publishers Weekly covers Richard Grayson's WITH HITLER IN NEW YORK's innovative review copies policy


In its September 17, 1979 issue, Publishers Weekly featured a news item covering the innovative review copies policy for Richard Grayson's book With Hitler in New York:

NOTICE SENT TO PW'S STRAIGHT-FACED EDITOR:

The Taplinger Publishing Company has announced that it will pursue an innovative policy in regard to review copies of "With Hitler in New York," the book of short stories by Richard Grayson ("Grayson pokes fun at American life . . ." PW, April 23). Review copies will bypass critics and be sent directly to the Strand Book Store in New York City.

"This efficient system," observed the author, who originated the plan, "will save postage and bothersome packaging for literary critics."

Reviewers may now contact Taplinger and request that copies of "With Hitler in New York" be sent directly to the Strand rather than to their homes or offices. The book will be credited to each reviewer's account by the bookstore.

Sunday, September 9, 1979

New York Daily News reports on Richard Grayson's candidacy for Vice President



In "Hats in the Ring: A Soap Box Derby," an article by White House correspondent Frank Van Riper, the New York Daily News today (September 9, 1979) discussed the Vice Presidential candidacy of Richard Grayson.

Newsday reviews Richard Grayson's WITH HITLER IN NEW YORK


Today, Sunday, September 9, 1979, Long Island's Newsday reviews Richard Grayson's short story collection With Hitler in New York in Section C on page 23. The back cover of the paper has a teaser for the review: "Best Seller for a Newcomer?":

Book Review


Saturday-Night Hitler


"WITH HITLER IN NEW YORK AND OTHER STORIES," by Richard Grayson

(Taplinger, 190 pp., $7.95)


Reviewed by Ethel Shapiro Sarrett



How would the Jewish residents of Brooklyn react if Hitler came to visit them today? This is the premise of the title story of a book that marks the debut of a promising Jewish comic author. At 27, Richard Grayson has the wild sense of humor of a "Saturday Night Live" regular. Some may find his gags offensive; others will be laughing all the way to the analyst's couch.

In the title story, the narrator picks up a German chap named Hitler at Kennedy Airport and brings him back to Brooklyn to the general apathy of everyone concerned. ("Ellen's mother does not talk to Hitler except to say, 'Pass me the salt bagel.'") Hitler gets stoned over the Belt Parkway, translates a Yiddish song on the Brighton Beach boardwalk, and comforts the narrator when his grandfather dies. What is the reader to make of this? Is Grayson saying that the post-Holocaust generation is so jaded in 1979 that they would not care very much if another Hitler appeared? Or is he, since his Hitler is not a Nazi leader but a college student and brewery worker, trying to rid Jewish-Americans of their irrational (if understandable) antipathy to things and persons German? Grayson seems to want to have it both ways.

In the section titled "Family," Grayson gives us portraits of normal Jewish life – with a lot of mishigass thrown in. Great-Grandma Chaikah can't understand why no Jews ever make strikes on "Bowling for Dollars." Grandma, forced to rely on Social Security, shops for groceries by removing price stickers until she gets to a price that she likes. Grandpa spends most of his time watching "Eyewitness News " and wondering whether Farrah Fawcett has a foreign accent.

But there is poignancy here as well. In "Wednesday Night at Our House," Grayson employs a question-and-answer format to schematize the dreary, immobilized lives of a Brooklyn family of five, each member to weak to help the others.

Grayson takes risks. Sometimes his jokes fall flat. But more often than not, the reader is dazzled by the swift, witty goings-on.


Ethel Shapiro Sarrett is a free-lance reviewer.

Thursday, September 6, 1979

Baltimore City Paper reviews Richard Grayson's WITH HITLER IN NEW YORK


This week's Baltimore City Paper has a review of Richard Grayson's With Hitler in New York:

Friday, September 7, 1979

BOOK REVIEW

by Rick Peabody, Jr.


WITH HITLER IN NEW YORK

By Richard Grayson

190 pp. Taplinger, $7.95



If you like Steve Martin, you'll love this book!

Richard Grayson is a 28-year-old word wizard from Brooklyn who packs more laughs into these 27 stories than Martin managed in all of Cruel Shoes. While both men possess wild imaginations, Martin's prose is stiff and semi-literate by comparison.

In Grayson's world, Hitler is resurrected and visiting modern New York; Abe Lincoln hates flapjacks and lies around doing nothing while Stephen Douglas sleeps with Mary Todd; Justice Burger is deluged with fan mail; stories come to live and go to the hospital or bit novelist John Gardner on the leg at a writer's conference. Famous people litter his stories, dropping in and out of outrageous situations. It is the kind of humor that has made Flann O'Brien a cult figure and which has enabled Gilbert Sorrentino's Mulligan Stew to be the literary hit of the summer.

The "Families" section of the book deals with the stereotypical Jewish family and these stories are the most real, seemingly autobiographical. Grayson weaves the landscape of tradition, and the heartfelt characters together with the absurdities of human relationships, to tell some hard truths in these highly charged tales.

Other standouts in a book of standouts are: a story told through a series of "Classified Personal" ads; "A Note On The Type," which parodies such notes; a story that disintegrates as it progresses; a soap opera starring the author; his notes on the flyleaf; and a fantastic cover.

Very few writers under the age of 30 have had anything published in the New York publishing world. Grayson is the beginning of a whole new wave. He deserves your attention. Steve Martin's book may be at the top of the charts, but if there is any justice in this post-Monty Python world, Richard Grayson will be the next Vice President.