Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Up in the Old Hotel

From a list of reasons why 93-year-old Mr. Flood is "irreconcilable" to death:

"Third, he is a diet theorist -- he calls himself a seafoodetarian -- and feels obliged  to reach a spectacular age in order to prove his theory.  He is convinced that the eating of meat and vegetables shortens life and he maintains that the only sensible food for man, particularly for a man who wants to hit a hundred and fifteen, is fish."

-- From "Old Mr. Flood" in Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell.

I was so pleased that my copy of Up in the Old Hotel turned up in the lost-and-found at the gym that I have set aside Small Island and gone back to Mitchell's essays and short stories about New York.

This teaser is from one of three three stories about the fictional Mr. Flood, a composite character of Mitchell's invention based on the curmudgeons who liked to hang around the Fulton Fish Market.  Like the essays in the book, the Mr. Flood stories are rich, colorful accounts of New York life in the 1930s and '40s -- mostly centered around the Fulton Market and the people involved in the fishing trade.

This is now one of my all-time favorite books. I wish I had read it years and years ago so I could be re-reading it now.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.


  1. What a fascinating teaser. I will look into the book. My TT: http://www.rundpinne.com/2010/07/teaser-tuesdays-31-bond-street.html

  2. I don't like fish, but the book sounds interesting!

  3. This sounds like a really interesting and quirky kind of book. Great teaser. :) Mine is at The Crowded Leaf.

  4. Perhaps I should give fish a go! This sounds brilliant.

  5. What an excuse for wanting a long life. *shaking head in disbelief.*

    You can find mine here today.

  6. Wonderful teaser! My husband keeps recommending this book to me. Maybe I'll give it a try - it does sound intriguing.

    TT: Noah’s Compass

  7. This sounds fantastic!. You also reminded me that I have a copy of Subway Chronicles somewher. Subway stories from NY.

  8. Jennifer -- Thanks for dropping by and thanks for leaving the link.

    Vicki -- Mr. Flood's odd diet theories aside, it is a great book.

    Alayne -- It is definitely quirky! Thanks for leaving your link.

    Vivienne -- It is a brilliant book. It's the kind of book I want to keep around to re-read parts every so often. A good reminder of what a great writer can do with any material.

    Alice -- Well, Mr. Flood was a funny old coot.

    Joy -- I think you would love it. Thanks for leaving the link.

    Diane -- I hadn't heard of Subway Chronicles. I will look for it.

  9. I saw the word curmudgeon and added this one to my list.

  10. Sounds great. makes me feel like having seafood for lunch :-)

  11. I'm glad you got the hotel back. It sounds so delightful.

  12. Charley -- Curmudgeon is a terrific word. I'd like to be one myself!

    Becky -- This book has a lot of essays and stories about fishermen and fishmongers, so it has several times made my tummy rumble.

    LKT -- I am happy too! Having had several books go missing when I left them at the gym, I am so pleased that this one was rescued!


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