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Town air makes free

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astragal

Reading The Penguin Book of the City, edited by one Robert Drewe, an Australian, Astragal was disappointed to find no Rogers, no Jonathan Raban, not even a Sant'Elia. The reason, one discovers, is that the anthology comprises works of fiction only, with the exception of a piece by Joan Didion, on LA Noir. Even Woody Allen and Lewis Mumford, among the greatest advocates of cities, especially New York, only get a mention in the foreword. Allen's comment, in 1993, when asked why he hated leaving the Big Apple to spend a weekend in the country? 'I don't trust air I can't see.' Mumford, writing about Manhattan in 1917, as seen from Brooklyn Bridge, said: 'The wonder of that moment was like the wonder of an orgasm in the body of one's beloved, as if one's whole life had led up to that moment and had swiftly culminated there.' Still, it's a good read at £7.99 pbk.

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