Review: Hugh Eakin on Gertrude Stein‘s Barns…

It’s the height of the Depression. Dashiell Hammett has just published The Thin Man; the Cardinals are brawling their way through the World Series; John Dillinger has recently been gunned down in a Chicago alley. Into this combustible mix arrive, from Paris’s Left Bank, a pair of obstinate, late-middle-aged Jewish women, who haven’t set foot in the country for thirty years. One rather stocky, close-cropped, and intoxicated by syntax; the other diminutive, fond of big hats, obsessed with food. Over the next seven months, they will bring their improbable literary roadshow to the breadth and depth of the country, from Charleston to Minneapolis, Dallas to the San Joaquin Valley. And they will be treated like Hollywood royalty wherever they go.

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